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Brilliant Consumer Solution to Growing Texting and Driving Issue

toronto sunriseMy post the other day on texting and driving brought many responses, both good and bad.  One of them, however, blew me away.

The individual’s ability to recognize the problem from both sides of the spectrum, acknowledge the challenges that each group faces on a regular day, and taking all of it into consideration allowed them to provide an innovative solution.

Often times, extreme views happen because we don’t understand another person’s perspective, and instead of trying to be a better listener we become a louder talker.  We find others on our side that agree with us to make us feel better about our own position, and condone anyone that thinks otherwise.  It’s a normal human defense, but not one that is very productive to solving the many issues in society; all it does is shut off listening and polarize views further.

The individual commenter offered a new application for iPhones and Androids called Otterapp to improve the way we text so we can set times we are driving, automated responses, use the phone on the GPS only, and more.  It impressed me for a  number of reasons:

  • The individual did not blame the government for the problem and even pointed out that since we created laws to ban texting in some places texting has still increased and accidents have not been reduced.
  • The individual didn’t blame consumers for the use of texting, as it is a complex society we have created and many are struggling to survive to feed their families, appear socially cool, and juggle more things with less time.
  • The individual recognized the true magnitude of the problem.
  • Instead of complaining and blaming others, the person developed a solution that is better than either of the current alternatives – bringing each opposite view point closer to the ultimate goal; safe driving.

Maybe you still say people should not text or talk while driving, no matter what.   I see why, and can only imagine if you lost a family member to someone while the other person was texting.  Unfortunately, in taking that stance, people fail to recognize the challenges others face in this ‘now’ economy where deals have to be done immediately and bosses want answers yesterday, families have to be fed, sick ones at home have to be cared for, and childrens’ education needs to be paid.

So I think when we sincerely believe something, there are two things we can and should do:

  • Do everything in our power to live by example for others, while not being self-righteous about it.
  • Offer solutions that meet the needs of both people, bringing all of us closer to our goals.

This solution hit me particularly hard as I think we are living in a society that is becoming more divisive as opposed to inclusive.  It scares and troubles me deeply, as eventually people can get to a point where they don’t respect the other side, and argue just for the sake of arguing regardless of if it is in the best interest of all involved.  We then continue to hurt our country and people, making it worse for both sides instead of better.

So Kudos to Erik for developing Otter, and taking the road less traveled, and treating this issue as the collective ‘we.’

Creative Commons License photo credit: paul (dex)

Brilliant Consumer Solution to Growing Texting and Driving Issue

Kathryn Goetzke

I own a company called the Mood-factory (, a company that creates products based on how sensory experiences effect moods. I also run a nonprofit for depressio, iFred (, we are working to change the brand of depression. And yes, I have ADHD, along with PTSD, major depressive disorder, and a host of other challenges, opportunities, and gifts.

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APA Reference
Goetzke, K. (2010). Brilliant Consumer Solution to Growing Texting and Driving Issue. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 31, 2020, from


Last updated: 7 Oct 2010
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