guy on his phone while driving

Smartphone apps that work against distracted driving

An app that can keep you from texting and driving? It sounds crazy at first, especially since apps cause roughly 1.6 million crashes each year, but some developers are working to bring that number down. Here are six smartphone apps that can help you stay safer on the road and keep you out of legal trouble. 

Android Auto and Apple Do Not Disturb

Regardless of which platform your phone runs on, you have easy access to a free app that will help you cut down on distracted driving habits. Both Do Not Disturb and Auto offer functionality with newer vehicles, allowing your phone’s display to sync up with your car’s touchscreen. Each app also works as a standalone feature for older vehicles. 

Apple’s works more like a setting. You can activate manually each time or drive or sync it to your car’s Bluetooth feature, which creates a do not disturb feature each time your vehicle is in motion. Android’s does much of the same, but works to incorporate your favorite apps as a more driver-friendly feature.

AT&T’s DriveMode

Recommended by a personal injury lawyer in California, this app allows a one music app to play and one navigation app to give you directions, placing everything else on a do not disturb setting. 

You can also select five contacts whose calls will come through while drive, ensuring that you never miss an emergency. For parents worried about their teens, the app’s parental controls send out an alert if your young driver disables DriveMode. 

Down for the Count

Available only for the iOS operating system, Down for the Count offers an incentive for focusing on the road. Users can sign up for various sponsors who pay them to stay off of their texting app. While you won’t receive a ton of money, it never hurts to have to some spare change while making the road safer for everyone. 


If you want to avoid the repercussions of a car accident, then LifeSaver offers a twofold approach to safety. The first aspect shuts down text and call features, sending an automated response to anyone trying to reach you. This feature also allows you to send safe arrival notifications and status updates on your trip. 

The second safety aspect is incentive-driven, offering drivers rewards for safe habits. It’s nothing major, but it does offer gift cards to places like Amazon. You need to keep your driving score within the top 10 of all users to remain eligible for prizes. Four out of those top 10 are selected at random to win. 


The Truce app, available on Android and iOS, takes restriction a step further. Not only can you disable aspects of your phone while driving, you can also do so at job sites. Truce also allows you to set requirements for phone use, like having another device or piece of equipment turned off. 

With Bluetooth connectivity, that could mean that your car must be turned off in order for your phone’s functions to start working again. This is the only app on the list that isn’t free, however. If you’re serious about cutting down on phone time, the price might be worth the additional features this app offers.