Apple iPhone Connected Car CarPlay Doesn’t Play Safe or Fair, Petition @

textvoicebadApple’s CarPlay for iPhone 5/5c/5S that will be coming in cars and in-dash infotainment units this summer from Pioneer and Alpine is not necessarily safe for drivers or fair for developers says Erik Wood, founder of OTTER LLC.

Hands-free Siri dictated texting is not necessarily safe, notes Wood who quotes studies by Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University in which a voice-to-texting  was just as dangerous as manual texting* (video follows) along with National Safety Council information.

Better ways to deal with texting are to automate functions while driving and parental controls notes Wood who created the OTTER app. OTTER  silences text notifications when vehicles exceed 10 mph while sending automated replies. Phone ringtones are also silenced while driving unless Bluetooth is enabled.

OTTER offers groups of editable fast text responses and the ability to create a group of text responses for each friend, each day of the week. A timer auto-reply function manages incoming texts during specific times such as the daily commute, a doctor’s rounds, an import meeting or while sleeping…

Wood whose teenage daughter was almost injured in a car accident caused by a texting driver, believes that silencing/automated reply functionality should be available in all infotainment head units that will be shipped with CarPlay and or smartphone connected car functions.

There OTTER Be an App for That

Currently the OTTER app is available for Android but not for iPhone/iOS due to the security controls of Apple’s iOS.

Wood and his company have been trying since 2010 to bring its free software to the Apple store but low level security restrictions have banned all GPS based texting auto reply software from functioning on the iPhone operating system.

“Apple does need to to deliver secure products to its customers, but there are ways to deliver a useful texting management tool like the OTTER app to iPhone users while maintaining the security of their hardware,” wrote Wood on in a petition at to try to change Apple’s policy on safe driving app security.

According to the National Safety Council drivers looking out the windsheild miss seeing up to 50% of what is around them when talking on any kind of cell phone. The activity of the brain that processes moving images decreases by up to a third when listening or talking on a phone. New studies show that voice-to-text is more distracting than typing texts by hand.

University of Utah professor David Strayer found that using in-car entertainment systems are more distracting while driving than talking on the phone.

In the Texas AME study 43 participants drove on a closed course for a baseline as well as three texting conditions: hand-entry, using Siri, and using Vlingo. Driver reaction times were nearly two times slower than the baseline condition, no matter which texting method was used. Eye gazes to the forward roadway also significantly decreased compared to baseline, no matter which texting method was used.

Voice-To-Text Study from TTI on Vimeo.