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Put the Brakes on Reading Texts & Emails While Driving

Put the Brakes on Reading Texts & Emails While Driving

Years ago, no one would have ever thought to do something as dangerous as read or type a business letter while driving. Nowadays, it's standard operating procedure for millions of Americans. So hooked on 'staying connected,' many people can't ignore their Blackberry's while driving, even though they know it's dangerous - an alarming trend. A recent survey by Nationwide Insurance found that 1 in 5 people text while driving. The numbers jump to 1 in 3 among 18-34 year olds. Perhaps even more disturbing, insurers predict this trend will only increase as more and more people get access to mobile devices with messaging technologies.
The consequences of reading email while driving can be horrific. That's what led USTelematics, Inc. to focus on creating technology to keep drivers connected to their messages and their steering wheel. The result: Vivee, short for Voice Interactive Voice Enhanced Email. Vivee is an amazing new service that reads your email or text to you. That's right, Vivee actually talks; a little animated character or 'avatar' appears on the screen of your device and appears to speak incoming messages to you. Your hands stay on the wheel and your eyes stay on the road, where they belong.
"Safety should be our primary concern when driving-that's what makes Vivee such a remarkable and timely development," says Charlene Montalbano, Product Manager of USTelematics, Inc. "Insurance studies show that distracted drivers cause 80% of all traffic crashes, so several states already have laws banning the use of handheld cell phones while driving. Now, lawmakers are becoming more precise and targeted in the approach to eliminating driver distractions for drivers by considering laws that specifically ban text messaging and reading email while driving. Vivee will not only keep your focus safely on the road, ultimately, 'she' may help you avoid a ticket."
When you have incoming emails or texts, Vivee alerts you so that you can listen to your messages instead of trying to read them. Vivee connects to the internet through the Verizon Wireless EVDO high speed network. When Vivee is fully installed in any compatible device, including laptops and USTelematics Multimedia Car Pc's, it also brings full wireless internet connectivity with it, at speeds on par with many DSL services. In its first release, Vivee is compatible with all current windows operating systems and the smart phone. US Telematics plans to release adapting software for the Apple IPhone by late summer and a IPhone compatible version of Vivee by the end of the summer.
Another option for business and recreational travelers alike is Vivee2go, a portable multimedia device about the size of 2 decks of playing cards. Vivee2go is particularly attractive to families on the go because it can be linked to Web-augmented GPS navigation and play music and movies - all in one convenient, compact device.
While Vivee has broad appeal to just about anyone who wants to drive safely yet still receive emails, Montalbano says another practical benefit is for individuals with vision problems. "We are excited about the adaptive possibilities Vivee offers," says Montalbano. "Vivee speaks and reads messages-this will level the playing field in business and education for those with vision disabilities. The ability to receive emails and texts without human assistance may change the lives of many people."
Vivee was created after USTelematics' CEO Howard Leventhal had a close call with his 6-year-old daughter in the car. "Howard was driving about 45 mph while texting and he looked up to see a car 100 feet ahead of him-fully stopped," says Montalbano. "He slammed on the brakes and stopped just inches shy of impact. Later that night after the adrenalin wore off, the idea for Vivee popped into his head."
The creation of Vivee is a pivotal technological event because it's the type of invention that will dramatically change the way we communicate when we're on-the-go. "We've all become so conditioned to being accessible at all times, we look back and wonder how we ever managed without cell phones," says Montalbano. "Once PDA's hit the scene, they became indispensable. Now that you won't be forced to cut the cord on your incoming information with Vivee - we'll wonder what we did before Vivee!"
For more information about Vivee and USTelematics, Inc. or to interview Charlene Montalbano please contact Rachel Friedman at 727-443-7115, ext. 206 or email rachel@emsincorporated.com. Please include your name, publication, and mailing address with your request.

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