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SOFTWARE

Smartphone App iZup Helps Make the Roads Safer
By: Joe Eitel
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    2010-02-22

    Table of Contents:
  • Smartphone App iZup Helps Make the Roads Safer
  • iZup: the Specifics
  • iZup: Performance

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    Smartphone App iZup Helps Make the Roads Safer


    (Page 1 of 3 )

    There’s a reason why six states currently have laws that ban cell phone use while driving, and sixteen have specifically made it unlawful to text while driving; it’s dangerous and irresponsible. Yet people still do it, especially teen-agers. Isn't there some way to deal with this problem? Believe it or not, there's an app for that, and it's called iZup.

    Recent statistics show that 25 percent of all automobile accidents are caused by distracted drivers using their cell phones and almost 6,000 people were killed and a half-million were injured in crashes related to driver distraction in 2008 alone. Is answering a call or responding to a friend’s silly text really worth risking someone’s life over?

    The answer is obviously no, but admittedly sometimes a ringing phone is difficult to ignore. After all, 82 percent of Americans have cell phones, and for a majority of the day we’re either on them, looking at them, or waiting for them to buzz or ring. It can be a hard habit to break, especially in a culture that prides itself on its multi-tasking abilities. So, what do you do if you’re addicted to your phone, but no longer want to run the risk of injuring yourself or someone else? Well, like many dilemmas both small and large in current day America, there’s an app for that.

    The Story of iZup

    As terrifying as the texting/talking while driving statistics are for adults, they’re even worse for teenagers. According to arecently released study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, one in four American teens of driving age say they’ve texted while driving, and almost 50 percent of children ages 12 to 17 have admitted to being a passenger while a driver has texted behind the wheel. Nothing could be more troubling on a busy freeway than a brand new driver who isn’t concentrating on the road because they’re too busy texting “LOL” to their best friend.

    It was a similarly unsettling experience which led to the creation ofiZup, a new smartphone application that “offers a responsible solution to cell phone-related distracted driving by harnessing the power of GPS, the pervasiveness of cellular networks, and the new emphasis on intelligent solutions to real-world problems.” In simpler terms, it makes users unable to use their phones while driving, but only if their automobile is going faster than 5 MPH.

    The idea for the application came after Darcy Ahl had a frightening experience in the car with her sixteen-year-old son. While on the freeway, her son began grabbing for his ringing cell phone while driving. Their car began swerving badly on the busy freeway and Ahl yelled at her son to ignore the phone. He did and regained control of the car, but it was an experience that left the mother shaken to her core. "I wondered to myself what would have happened if I hadn't told him to hang the phone up," Ahl said. "I wondered what would have happened if I weren't there."

    Immediately after the incident, Ahl began formulating her plan for the app in her head, and by the time she got to her office, she’d already worked out the specifics of how it would work and what it would do. As a result of creating the iZup application, Ahl co-foundedIllume Software, where she is now vice president of public affairs. The app was released in December of 2009 -- just in time for the holidays -- and so far, it seems to be doing well.

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