State Farm introduces distracted driving tool

By Becky Yerak
Posted Aug. 19, 2010 at 3:37 p.m.

State Farm Insurance Co., the Bloomington-based home and auto insurer, said it has introduced what it claims is the insurance industry’s first free mobile phone accessory to address growing concerns about distracted driving.

Rival Allstate Corp. of Northbrook couldn’t be reached for immediate comment.

State Farm’s “On the Move” widget enables Android smartphone users to let people texting them know that they’re busy or driving. Besides reducing the number of accidents, such a tool could help insurers lower claims costs.

Android smartphone users can compose or select preloaded customized messages that can be sent as automated responses to incoming text messages, or limited to senders listed in the user’s smartphone address book. Instead of reading and responding to text messages while driving or at a class, gym or movie, smartphone users can activate the service and let the widget respond for them. The service is free to anyone with an Android smartphone as part of State Farm’s updated Pocket Agent for Android application.

Incoming text messages are still received and can be accessed in the user’s inbox.

“This new service will help drivers manage the temptation to read or respond to text messages when they are behind the wheel,” State Farm said.

The National Safety Council estimates that 200,000 crashes each year are caused by drivers who are texting, State Farm said.

“On the Move” is compatible with Android OS 1.5 and higher. The service is not available at this time on BlackBerry, Windows Mobile phone or iPhones but State Farm is evaluating options beyond the Android offering.

To see a video of the widget in action, click here.

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  1. Solo Aug. 19, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    I don’t get it. In order to NOT text and drive, you have to find an app on your phone, and turn it on. That’s just as bad as texting someone back.

  2. Makes Sense Aug. 20, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    To Solo-Obviously you turn on the app before you start driving.

    I think this is a great tool. Hopefully other phones besides the Android will be able to start using soon too!

  3. layla fanucci Aug. 20, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    You’re NOT in good hands.