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LifeGift app uses familial shame to stop you from texting and driving

It taps the people closest to you to stop you from checking your phone while driving.


LifeGift uses the people you care about most to remind you to stop driving distracted.

Josh Goldman/CNET

Maybe it's you. Or maybe you know someone who just can't stop checking their phone while they drive. They know it's dangerous and that it can lead to an accident or death, but they just can't help themselves. Even after seeing Werner Hertzog's cautionary film From One Second To The Next, they reflexively pick up their phone while driving.

Well, at CES 2019 the company LifeGift has a unique way to make you stop using your phone while driving: shame. The LifeGift app has people you care about remind you to drive safely. 

Think about that for a moment: You're driving along and unlock your phone to check a text and bam! You hear the voice of your daughter begging you to drive safe. If that doesn't rattle you to the core, I don't know what will.

The first thing that caught my eye about the LifeGift app was its ability to elicit a strong emotion to get you to stop driving distracted. I'm trying to think of another app that can tap so viscerally into your feelings and none come to mind.

Here's how it works. You download the app for free and buy a "LifeGift Link Token" for $5. Once you have a token you can send it to someone you care about who drives distracted. Then, you can add a photo of yourself or someone else you know that the driver cares about.

Next, you're prompted to record a message like "darling, I want you to come home safe tonight. Please put away your phone." Finally, the driver receives a text (hopefully not while driving) with a link to LiftGift to add to their phone.

LifeGift uses a car's bluetooth to connect with the driver's phone to determine when it's in motion. The app runs in the background until triggered by the phone being unlocked while the car is motion.

LifeGift is available on iOS and Android.

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