Recognizing a need—both among its policyholders and for the betterment of motorists everywhere—State Farm Insurance Co. released an Android widget aimed at combating the problem of distracted driving. The “On the Move” widget allows Android smartphone users to compose and pre-load customized messages that can be sent as automated responses to incoming text messages. By utilizing this service, Android users can let the widget respond to their incoming text messages in lieu of reading and responding to text messages while driving or otherwise occupied.
The National Safety Council estimates that 200,000 crashes each year are caused by drivers who are texting.
“It is our hope that this widget will prevent crashes and save lives,” says Laurette Stiles, State Farm’s Strategic Resources VP. “This new service will help drivers manage the temptation to read or respond to text messages when they are behind the wheel.”
With the service, Android owners can create their own responses and save them to a library for future use. The service works with all incoming texts, or can be limited to senders listed in the user’s smartphone address book. Activating the service prior to driving is just one way to use the widget. Smartphone users also can use the service while in class, at the gym or in a movie. (View video of the “On the Move” widget in action here.)
Available now, “On the Move” is free to anyone with an Android smartphone as part of State Farm’s updated Pocket Agent for Android application. The widget is compatible with Android OS 1.5 and higher, but is not yet available on BlackBerries, Windows Mobile phones or iPhones. State Farm says its development team is currently evaluating options beyond the Android offering.
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