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BlackBerry addicts drive safely with ZoomSafer

ZoomSafer is a mobile application that prevents drivers from texting, talking, or e-mailing while driving.

Matt Howard, a software entrepreneur, developed ZoomSafer following an incident when he almost killed a 9-year-old boy because he was texting while driving. He knew that if it happened to him, it could happen to anyone.


Howard, along with co-founders Mike Costello and Mike Riemer, gathered $1 million in venture capital to launch preventative mobile software, called ZoomSafer. When the car has passed 10 mph, ZoomSafer disables the keyboard on the phone and replies to calls or texts with a message letting them know the driver is on the road.

Big deal; why not switch the phone to airplane mode or turn it off instead?

Howard explains that many mobile users like him have an aching need to stay in touch and be connected, regardless of the situation. It's probably the reason why distracted driving results in 40,000 fatalities a year, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

So instead of completely disconnecting from the world, users have the option of selecting three priority contacts. When these people text or e-mail, the driver pushes any button to have the messages read out loud.

ZoomSafer's application, which will debut at CES 2010, is only available for the BlackBerry, but will make its way to Windows Mobile and other smartphones later, Howard said. Unfortunately, he explained than an application for the iPhone may never be developed because of Apple's restrictions and guidelines.