A Device That Will Allow You to Text and Drive Safely?

Photo (cc) by Lord Jim

Texting plus driving is a recipe for disaster. Despite the known danger and some laws aimed at preventing it, many people still try to juggle the demands of operating a car with typing and sending text messages. Enter the RayGo, a new device that claims to make texting while driving safer.

According to Ozy, the RayGo is a five-key control device that mounts on your steering wheel and connects to your phone via an app that then switches your favorite apps to “drive mode,” so they work with voice feedback.

“Drive mode” works with Gmail, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, just to name a few. Simply press on the five-way control with your thumb and listen as the Siri-esque RayGo voice provides options such as “select action,” “next” and “OK.” Nintendo fans will feel right at home.

Project Ray, the parent company of the RayGo, specializes in technology that makes it possible for the blind and visually impaired to use a smartphone.

“RayGo modifies this technology to allow for ‘eyes-free’ use of one’s smartphone behind the wheel,” Geektime said.

The RayGo also uses your phone’s GPS sensors and embedded accelerometer to figure out your speed and direction, Ozy noted.

If you’re driving quickly, the voice responses get slower and more pronounced. If you’re in the middle of making a turn and you receive a message, the RayGo will hold it.

Pretty slick, right? Of course, there are drawbacks. Although it’s small, attaching the RayGo to your steering wheel could not only prevent you from properly gripping the wheel, it could also thwart the safe deployment of your airbag, Ozy noted.

Accident lawyer Jennifer Ashley, a partner with Illinois-based Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., told Ozy that using a device that enables hands-free texting poses a risk of causing an accident. “In my opinion, a device such as RayGo should not be legal,” she says.

But there are some people who are going to text and play on their phone regardless of whether they’re behind the wheel of a car. This device was designed with them in mind.

“RayGo doesn’t let you look at the phone,” Arielle Tayar, community and social media manager for RayGo, told Geektime.

“As soon as you start to drive, it turns the screen into a different visual graphic. If you’re speeding up or turning, the RayGo motion sensor detects that you’re using more cognitive ability, so it will slow down the user interaction flow. It will hold back from telling you that you have a new message.”

“As soon as you’re on a straight road,” said Tayar, “and traveling at the speed limit, RayGo will read that email for you.”

RayGo is expected to retail for $79. It will start shipping in the fall, Ozy said. It’s only available for Androids, but an iPhone version of the app should be available later this year.

Do you think the RayGo is a safe answer to texting and driving, or is it simply enabling drivers to continue a dangerous activity? Sound off below or on our Facebook page. And share this article on your Facebook page.

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