It has been just over one week since the hands-free driving law in Minnesota took effect, and I’ve already figured out a hack!
This week I’m testing a mobile app experience called Drivetime that actually encourages you to use your phone while you drive. But with your voice, of course.
Set up like a morning drive time radio program, Drivetime pits you against another player to answer trivia questions that get increasingly harder. There’s banter back and forth between the hosts like you would hear on terrestrial radio, and you truly don’t need to touch your phone once you start playing.
Targeting the 110 million North Americans who commute to and from work by themselves, Drivetime may have a captive market – especially as hands-free distracted driving laws are on the increase.
The gamification aspect allows you to play 1:1 against your immediate friends on the app, or if none of them are playing, a random player. I played against strangers Melissa, Nathan and Steve on my commute this morning, and I won two of three rounds. I have to admit I got pretty competitive on that final round. Damn you, Steve!!!
After you have safely parked and can once again legally touch your cell phone, users can also navigate the app settings to pull up personalized Trivia Stats, including total number of questions answered, accuracy, and a breakdown of your success in various categories (e.g., History, Literature, Music, TV & Film). It’s a running tally of just how much random crap you know.
What’s most impressive about Drivetime are the advances in speech recognition technology that allow you to play using just your voice and both hands on the wheel. It’s more like playing Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me than HQ Trivia, except with a stunningly accurate understanding of your spoken word answers.
For daily commuters, competitive trivia could be a nice break from NPR, podcasts, Spotify or just listening to the gentle hum of the tires on the freeway to work. The production and hosts are a little cheesy, but the concept is pretty fun.
Beyond the free daily Drivetime Trivia, the app includes music-based quizzes, hands-free blackjack games, and US and world capital quizzes – all unlockable as part of their freemium model that is not cheap whatsoever ($9.99/month!), but would perhaps make a road trip all the more interesting. I’m going to pass on that for now.
DISCLAIMER: Do not text and drive. I’ve done it, and I’m not proud of it. It was stupid, and I was stupid. Do not endanger yourself or others being stupid on your phone while you drive. Only use this app if you are absolutely safe.