Tara, one of our operations employees, was sitting at her desk when her cell phone started talking out loud in a women’s voice. All of us in the office were curious to know what it was. She said it was her new app she downloaded for her Blackberry, called DriveSafe.ly. Tara downloaded this free app to read her texts and emails while she drives, but she forgot to turn it off when she came into work. I’m glad she didn’t, because it got me curious as to what it was.
According to the designer’s website
DriveSafe.ly is a mobile application that reads text (SMS) messages and emails aloud in real time and automatically responds without drivers touching the mobile phone.
DriveSafe.ly is a free application that is available to Blackberry and Android users and will soon be available to Window Mobile and iPhone users. According to Consumer Reports, it’s a simple program that works well.
[It]reads text messages and e-mails aloud as they are received, either through the phone’s speaker or through a Bluetooth connection. It sends an automatic response to alert the sender that the recipient is driving…The free version features a female voice reading up to 25 words, though there may be verbal ads included. It does recognize common abbreviations such as “BTW” and “LOL”.
It’s really simple to download and allows you to adjust the settings. According to Berry Review,
you can edit the Auto response [to] create a custom response. Drivesafe.ly does not require anyone to use the auto response or any of the options on there but some come set by default so make sure you explore through all the settings.
You can also upgrade to DriveSafe.ly Pro, for only a $13.95 one-time cost. The premium version allows up to 500 words and a few customization options, including changing the voices.
Like with any new tool, DriveSafe.ly has its pros, cons and room for improvement. According to Android Guys App Review,
• Icon in status bar should indicate if the app is active or not
• Must have an internet connection to work
• Let you hear messages without looking at your phone
• Good natural voices
• Understand acronyms and dates
• Auto reply to sender to let then know you’ve heard the message
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT:
• Missing an option to automatically repeat the message
• Option to deactivate automatically (timed or by geolocation)
For Tara’s review, she gives it a thumbs up. Distracted Driving laws are becoming more stringent, so DriveSafe.ly or any other text reading tool available is something to really consider. Read more about these laws in our posts Texting While Driving and Don’t Text and Drive.