A Distraction-Free DriveCan this new hardware system keep your eyes off your phone and your focus on the road?
The TextBuster system promises to rid you of all distractions your phone can produce, such as texting and notifications. Apart from phone calls and navigation apps, the system basically knocks out every other function your phone has.
It is a basic hardware component installed in your car along with an Android or Blackberry-compatible app that allows the system to communicate with your phone. So far, no app has been created for the iPhone. Downloading the app is like any other – easy and simple. Installing the hardware consists of connecting one wire to the car’s fuse box and another to bare metal found somewhere on the car’s body. Once Bluetooth has been activated on your phone and the box shows a green light, you are good to go!
When the system indicates to the phone that the car is in motion, the app creates a ‘splash screen’ across the phone surface that can’t be removed unless the car is physically shut down. This block includes games, notifications, instant messaging, etc., however, the splash screen does include an option to make phone calls and another to access navigation systems.
When installing the TextBuster app, you have to create an account which ensures you can’t override the system and also allows TextBuster to log where and when you were in specific locations (a method of tracking). This also enables the option of sending the user an SMS when the system is tampered with, when the driver is entering/leaving a safe or unsafe zone, and when a preset speed limit is exceed.
Unfortunately, TextBuster only recognizes Google Maps as a legitimate navigation system and blocks any other apps from working. The same result occurs when attempting to use Google Voice while in the Maps app. The phone app is also ill-suited for in-car use as the buttons are small and require focus to press (taking away attention from the road) and again, attempting to use voice dialing causes the system to block you.
Installing the system is simple but drivers who don’t want to tinker around with their car’s electronic system may be hesitant to use it. For these, an accessory device that allows the system to get its power from the car’s diagnostic port is available… for $49.
The Bluetooth enabling is required to be on at all times which drains a lot of battery power.
The system itself has a lot of back doors, which would allow any determined driver to override the system easily – essentially reducing the actual usefulness of this device.
The TextBuster does what it says it will do, but at a hefty cost of $179. Unless some major improvements are made on this device, it doesn’t necessarily prove itself worthy of its price tag.