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Car and Driver, Chrysler Launch 'Text U L8r'

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The Ann Arbor auto enthusiast magazine Car and Driver Wednesday announced the launch of ‘Txt U L8r,’ a free mobile application for handheld devices created to combat the dangers of texting while driving.

Sponsored by Chrysler and developed by Newark, N.J.-based iSpeech, Txt U L8r automatically responds to text messages without forcing drivers to take their eyes off the road or their hands off the wheel.

When TXT U L8r is running on a driver’s handheld device, the application sends a predetermined message back to the sender with an alert that the user is unavailable.

At the same time, the received message is read aloud to the driver, ensuring he or she doesn’t miss an urgent message.

A paid upgrade of the application is available allowing the driver to respond back to messages with voice commands.

The development of Txt U L8r was prompted by a Car and Driver Texting While Driving Study that showed driver reaction times while texting were much worse compared to drunk driver reaction times. The study demonstrated the time it takes to hit the brakes when sober, when legally drunk, when reading an email and when sending a text.

Car and Driver found that texting drivers required an additional 70 feet to hit the brakes in an emergency, compared to four feet for drivers who were legally drunk. Based on the results of this study, Car and Driver representatives appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show in January as part of Winfrey’s “No Phone Zone” pledge, to discuss their findings and to demonstrate just how dangerous texting while driving truly is.

“Our experiment showed just how dangerous texting while driving can be,” said Eddie Alterman, editor-in-chief of Car and Driver. “The results of our research were precisely the reason we developed Txt U L8r in an effort to help drivers avoid car accidents often associated with distracted driving. Our goal is to make Txt U L8r part of a daily driving routine while helping save lives behind the wheel.”

The problem of texting while driving, coupled with the results of the Car and Driver study, were the primary reasons why Chrysler chose to officially sponsor the Txt U L8r application.

Chrysler Group LLC was the first automaker to establish a corporate policy that prohibits its employees from texting while driving company-owned vehicles and texting with company-provided communication devices while driving personal vehicles. Chrysler has implemented this policy to promote safer driving behaviors and to serve as an industry example.

The company will take a further step by enabling its employees to download the Txt U L8r application to their company-owned communication devices.

Chrysler will also take action on its Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/Chrysler, to ask its community and owners to make the commitment of not texting while driving. With a simple click, fans can take the “I Drive Text-Free” pledge as well as share it with their friends and family

To download Txt U L8r:

Click on http://bit.ly/aRSgul from your Android.

Click on http://bit.ly/cVWTic or http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/12376 from your Blackberry.

(c) 2010, WWJ Newsradio 950. All rights reserved.

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