Texting While Driving: New App Reads E-Mail So You Don't Have To

Last Updated Jul 22, 2010 10:43 AM EDT


As most everybody knows by now, reading text messages and e-mail while behind the wheel is not only insanely dangerous, but also illegal in an increasing number of states.

Available now for BlackBerry and iPhone and soon for Android, Text'nDrive reads your messages aloud while you drive, thus allowing you to keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Watch it in action:



Obviously Text'nDrive doesn't quite live up to its name, as it doesn't actually support text messages -- not yet, anyway. That feature is in development. But I suppose "Email'nDrive" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

The free version of the app reads only the first 45 words of each e-mail. The Pro version bumps that to 500 words and lets you reply by voice. Text'nDrive Pro for iPhone is currently on sale for $9.99 (it's normally $19.99). As for BlackBerry, only the free Lite version currently appears in App World.

Be sure to check the company's FAQ page for information on e-mail compatibility and configuration. (Exchange accounts, for example, work only if IMAP is enabled.)

If you have a compatible phone, I urge you to take Text'nDrive for a test drive. The life you save could be your own -- or, more importantly, mine.

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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.