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Software aiming to curb texting while driving [The Frederick News-Post, Md.]
[April 29, 2010]

Software aiming to curb texting while driving [The Frederick News-Post, Md.]

(Frederick News-Post (MD) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Apr. 29--MIDDLETOWN -- After attending the funeral of a 17-year-old whose automobile accident was because of texting while driving, a Middletown couple decided to do something to prevent more texting-while-driving deaths.

John Tsinonis, a software developer, and his wife, Joana, a business development expert, combined their expertise to develop proTextor -- a software that helps drivers stay focused.

Using cell phones to call or text while driving has become a national problem that makes proTextor a timely and needed resource, the Tsinonis said.

The proTextor software blocks incoming and outgoing text messages and phone calls while a driver's vehicle is in motion. GPS-enabled software engages when a vehicle starts moving, blocking incoming and outgoing calls and texts. The goal is to keep drivers' hands on the wheel and eyes on the road by preventing cell phone use while the car is in motion.

More than 80 percent of crashes involve some type of distracted driving, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. And although many states now require drivers to use hands-free devices, using a cell phone in any context while driving is distracting -- period, Joana Tsinonis said.

The Maryland General Assembly's recent ban on using a cell phone while driving highlights how serious the problem is, John Tsinonis said. The law goes into effect Oct. 1.

The development of proTextor has a personal side to it. The Tsinonis have six children and the thought of a texting-while-driving accident strengthened their quest to find a solution.

Downloading the software to a phone is the first step. Next, an administrator customizes the settings, such as the speed at which the software engages and an automated response to incoming calls and texts.

Once settings are saved, proTextor does the rest, including detecting when the phone is in motion, automatically sending phone calls to voice mail and logging all incoming and outgoing text messages. Missed calls and texts can be accessed when the driver reaches a destination.

The software can be disabled by an administrator. This is a feature that requires trust between the user and the administrator. The administrator can also send a text to the user's phone, temporarily disabling proTextor. The software engages immediately after the text is sent.

Calls or text to a proTextor-enabled phone are met with this response: "I'm driving now, call me later." The software currently works on phones with Windows mobile platforms. Additional operating systems will be added to the product line based upon a specific client's needs.

"The next step for us is to get funding to include it on every phone but to do that takes so much time and energy," Joana Tsinonis said.

ProTextor could be put to best use for mass transit, on school buses or by insurance companies, where it will affect thousands of people, John Tsinonis said.

Many local governments acknowledge the problem of texting while driving but even though illegal, a ban is difficult to implement, Joana Tsinonis said.

"It's also priceless for a concerned parent," Joana Tsinonis said. "If this can save one life, even if John doesn't make a penny of it, then it's worth it." To see more of the Frederick News-Post or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to

Copyright (c) 2010, The Frederick News-Post, Md.

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