Apps to help curb Texting and Driving

There is no doubt that texting and driving is dangerous. In fact, I really wish Texas would clamp down on texting and driving by making it illegal. I talked about the dangers of distracted driving on numerous occasions and how texting is by far the worst on list of these distractions. Mainly because it involves all three types of distractions (visual, manual and cognitive). Yet, being almost totally disconnected from your task at hand (driving), it still isn’t enough to keep people from doing it.

So, until it becomes illegal to do so, people are still going to text and drive. What do you do about this? Apparently, if you are an app developer, you create new applications for our phones to help us sideline the texting and driving issue. has compiled a list of six apps we can use. Check them out! (Free)

This BlackBerry app called reads your incoming text messages and emails to you thanks to its text to speech functionality. You can even create customizable auto-responses for your outgoing messages.

On the Move (Free)

This Android app, called On the Move, was developed to deter avid texters from checking their screens while driving. Acting as an auto-reply tool when you receive a message, On the Move tells the texter that you’re driving with a customized alert.

Otter ($4)

Not only does the Android-based Otter send auto replies to texters when you’re on the road, but you can also build custom quick responses, so you don’t waste time fumbling to text back on your small virtual or QWERTY keyboard.

ShoutOut ($1)

Called ShoutOut, this iPhone app dictates your speech to a text message, then sends it along to your chosen recipient. This app comes with a per-text cost though, with 50 voice-to-text messages costing $2, and 250 voice texts setting you back $5.

Type n Walk ($1)

Meant more for walkers than drivers, the Type n Walk app works with other apps and programs on your iPhone to give you a view of where you’re going so you can stare at your phone all the time. This way, you won’t run into telephone poles, mailboxes, and you know, other people.

Sprint’s Drive First App

Available for $2 a month in the third half of 2011, the Sprint Drive First App will lock up your phone while driving and route all calls to voicemail. Additionally, it will block all text message alerts and send an auto response saying the driver is unavailable, but still give you access to three main contacts, three apps, and GPS.

That’s all well and good, but in all honesty I don’t think these apps should cost a dime! In fact, they should be technology that’s included in your phone. Now I know that isn’t realistic, but if apps like these can curb texting and driving accidents, phone manufacturers should seriously consider making them a standard inclusion, or at the very least educate the users on their existence.

Thoughts? Comments? Do you have one of these apps? Do you use it? If you don’t, does paying a fee for the app itself or any additional service deter you from adding it to your phone? Let me know, all of us at Freeman Grapevine are not only looking out for your safety, but also the safety of those you share the road with.

Ft. Worth, help us put an end to Domestic Violence

I’m taking a break today from my usual automotive oriented post to write about something that is a very serious issue and a recent cause I took up and wanted to be a part of. The eradication of Domestic Violence in Ft. Worth, through out Texas and ultimately, our nation.

I’ve recently contacted SafeHaven of Tarrant County to see how I could use my resources to help victims of abuse. I understand that those who fail to take action, or offer support when they can are often to blame as well. While this is a very strong and arguable statement, I feel that the spirit of it is true. Failure to help is just that: failure.

Now, you might not be able to contribute money, or have time to volunteer for DV functions, but you can educate yourself. You never know when the knowledge you possess about DV might actually save someone from a life of pain, or even death.

What is Domestic Violence? Under most state laws, domestic violence is defined as any physical abuse, or threat of abuse, between intimately involved partners, roommates, or family members.

Victims of abuse often internalize their feelings of fear and anger at their situation. More often than not, the victim believes they are to blame for their situation. The classic statement here is: “If I didn’t do….then I wouldn’t get hit”, or: “my partner only abuses me when I do something wrong”, or: “I shouldn’t have made my partner angry enough to hit me”. This dialogue doesn’t only come from the victim, but is often mirrored by the abuser who is always there to reinforce the idea that the abuse is the result of a failure on the part of the victim.

What are the warning signs that often accompany domestic violence cases.

  • Injuries and Excuses
  • Absences from work or School
  • Extremes of Self-Esteem
  • Personality Changes
  • Fear of Conflict
  • Passive-Aggressive Behavior
  • Self-Blame
  • Isolation and Control Issues
  • Stress Related Problems

*for an extensive list with explanations, please check*

The only thing that stands to change the domestic violence problem in our state, country and abroad is YOU. If you, or someone you know is being abused, get help. Contact SafeHaven of Tarrant County.

Let’s put an end to Domestic Violence, now!

Pittsburgh Steelers Coach gives car away for $20


First, let me start by saying, if you know me, you know that I love sports and I LOVE football. So, when I ran across a short, feel-good story on Yahoo about the generosity of Steelers secondary coach Ray Horton. I had to retell it to my readers.

So, who hasn’t dreamed of a spectacular, yet unlikely gift by someone who is in the limelight? Like going to a Van Halen concert and Eddie Van Halen gives you his guitar. Or, going to a Texas Ranger game and Josh Hamilton gives you his glove. That stuff never happens, right? Wrong! Just such a scenario took place! Yahoo reports that Pittsburgh Steelers cafeteria worker Maurice Matthews received the gift of a 1999 Mercedes-Benz SL500. The gift was given by Steelers secondary coach Ray Horton to Matthews for $20 on the coach’s last day of work.

Apparently, Horton dropped the news on Matthews by asking the food service employee, who would repeatedly ask to take his Benz for a ride, if he could borrow all the money he had. Since the two were reportedly close, Matthews gave Horton his only $20, which became the asking price for the droptop. Not too shabby, especially considering the book value on the 64,000 mile Benz is somewhere around $18k.

So, just when you think the unlikely would never happen…it does. I thought this was a great story that demonstrated the basic principles of human kindness and wanted to share with everyone. Even though it may not seem like it sometimes, there really are goodhearted people in this world who make differences in the lives of those around them. Be one of those people.

Your Car CD player is destined for extinction, Fort Worth

I don’t know about you, but when I drive, I have to listen to music. For me, it’s just a really great way to decompress after work, or a great way to get pumped up on the way to a game. The bottom line is that without tunes in the car, most of us might find traveling a bit on the boring side.

I don’t think we have anything to fear about losing our in-car entertainment, but I did recently hear that Sheryl Connelly with Ford Motor Co., told Digital Music News, “The in-car CD player – much like pay telephones – is destined to fade away in the face of exciting new technology.” According to Ford, downloadable formats such as MP3 now account for 98% of the music market, having grown more than seven-fold while CD sales have dropped 35%. The automaker says the Ford Focus is its first model that will have a CD-less in-dash radio.

Of course, Ford isn’t the only auto manufacturer who is moving towards integrating a smartphone connection as well as USB and MP3 Bluetooth connectivity for an external device in their vehicles as well.

Our cars have become such an ingrained part of our culture, they have quite literally become extension of ourselves and our homes. There is no doubt that over time customer preferences will lead us quickly into an all-digital approach to in-car audio entertainment. That means no more floorboards covered in scratched CDs. No more pulling the wrong CD from the right case. It will quite literally streamline our dashboards as well as how we listen to music in our cars.

The big question is, “When will all of this take place?” I don’t have an answer for that, but my guess is certainly much sooner than later.


Of course that was just for entertainment, so don’t go and turn your car into a giant keyboard…unless your name is Liberace.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask. If you are interested in the next generation on in-car entertainment, swing by and take a look at what Buick and GMC have to offer.

Fort Worth: The Buick Regal Wagon is on the Horizon

Remember the days of the station wagon? The 4 door ‘family truckster’ with the large hatchback gave way to the minivan crazy in the 90’s. Soccer moms and dads traded in their hatchback beauties for vehicle with more interior space when it became necessary to cart around teams of children and all of their equipment. It’s not that the station wagon couldn’t compete in regards to it’s cargo space, it really had more to do with its curb appeal.

Well, all of that is about to change as it appears (and I’ve heard chatter) that Buick is on the precipice of releasing a wagon version of the Regal. According to a recent post on autoblog:

One year ago, a Buick Regal wagon was deemed “unlikely.” However, General Motors is reportedly looking to expand the Regal lineup, not just with a rumored coupe, but with the estate seen here. Sources within GM say that the Regal wagon could debut as early as the end of this year, making it a 2012 model year vehicle.

Look to this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show for the first glimpse of the 2012 Buick Regal Wagon. It’s, no doubt, going to turn a few heads. There’s talk of 19-inch wheels and a bunch of other tasty treats.

If this wagon does make it to the production line…and all signs are saying it will…Buick will be firmly planted to go after the aforementioned Soccer Mom/Dad crowd. Considering that Freeman Grapevine is situated virtually in heart of the DFW Metroplex, you can bet that I’ll have a few of these on the lot if and when they are released.

If you are interested in the 2012 Buick Regal Wagon, check here often, as I’ll be keeping everyone up to date on it’s drop date and availability.

Fort Worth, Looking for a new Car check Certified Used GMC First

In an effort to attract more car buyers to Buick and GMC dealerships, General Motors will now offer two-year, 30,00-mile standard vehicle maintenance package as part of its Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle program. The no-cost maintenance program includes free oil changes whenever the Oil Life Monitor system says one is needed, tire rotations and multi-point inspections.

The announcement, which is now in effect, comes in addition to a one-year, 12,000-mile overall warranty, a five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty and a 172-point inspection. GM will also continue to offer a free trial of OnStar and XM Satellite Radio.

Getting a good deal on a used car just got a little easier thanks to GM. Not only will the company continue to offer a two-year/30,000 mile standard vehicle warranty on any CPO vehicle– GM calls it Chevrolet / Buick / GMC Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles–  but starting Sunday, buyers will get two years of standard free maintenance. Dubbed “owner Care” this includes the aforementioned oil changes, tire rotations and multi-point vehicle inspections.

“Customers demand more value for their money, and we have responded.” said Jennifer Costabile, General Director of Marketing and Sales Support, GM Fleet and Commercial

If you’ve been sitting on the fence with your decision between a reasonable used GM compared with something else. Than maybe the promise of a two-year, 30,00-mile standard vehicle maintenance package as part of its Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle program…that’s certain to knock you off of the fence!

If you have any questions, comments or input, please give me a shout opr use the comments beloe.

Fort Worth: There’s big news for the 2012 Buick LaCrosse

The big news for the 2012 model year Buick LaCrosse sedan is the introduction of a new standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with eAssist and a newer, more powerful and more efficient version of the direct-injected, E85-capable 3.6-liter V6 unit that sits atop of the range.

The entry-level LaCrosse with GM’s micro-hybrid eAssist technology is expected to deliver 25 percent better highway fuel economy than the current base model with the 182HP 2.4-liter four-pot, but not without a penalty at the showroom as prices start at $29,960 before an $860 destination charge for a total of $30,820. That’s an increase of $2,830 over the current 2011 LaCrosse CX.

General Motors said the 2012 LaCrosse with eAssist delivers up to 37 mpg highway fuel economy compared to 30mpg of the 2011 model year sedan with the four-cylinder engine. The same hybrid powertrain will also make its way into the 2012 Buick Regal later this year.

The 2012  also brings an updated version of the LaCrosse’s range-topping 3.6-liter V6 engine with variable valve timing and direct-injection technology. According to the Detroit automaker, the front-wheel-drive 3.6-liter model is rated at 303-horsepower and 264 lb-ft (358 Nm) of peak torque, an improvement of 23HP and 5 lb-ft respectively over the 2011MY LaCrosse’s V6. Pricing for the top-end V6 models has not yet been announced,

Standard features include dual-zone climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, and Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Later in the year, the LaCrosse eAssist will come with standard Buick IntelliLink, which uses Bluetooth or USB to connect the driver’s smartphone to a new 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It will enable streaming stereo audio from the phone through services like PANDORA and Stitcher, as well as full control of a paired device through the touchscreen display or steering wheel mounted buttons.

Come in and take a look at it yourself…I can describe it, but driving is definitely believing.

Fort Worth: Hail Damage can save you on a New Buick or GMC

Forget flood-damaged cars: In TEXAS, the bad word is always, “Aw, HAIL!”…as in hail damage. Foul weather is just something that we are accustomed to living where we do. Sometimes it’s more bark than bite, but most of the time our severe weather is SEVERE! Hail can be a real problem for car dealers in the area and commuters alike, but it can be an easy way to save some big bucks on a new car.

So, the question is: “Would you consider buying a hail-damaged car for a discount?” Let say, the broken windshields were repaired on all the vehicles, but the dents and dings still remained. Some people will take advantage of the sale to get a rare discount on higher end vehicles and then just pay the deductible on their insurance to get the rest of the car fixed.

So how easy is it to repair hail damage? Check out the video below and find out:

So you can see, that if you are in the market for a new car and want to save big bucks, don’t just pray for rain, as backwards as it may sound, pray for a little hail too. The dent’s aren’t that difficult to remove and most dealerships will have already replaced any broken glass during the deluge. There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of this situation, after all, I’d still need to sell those cars anyway and you can thank Mother Nature for giving you the discount.

If you happened to have a new car already and need to have any dent damage repaired, just give us a call and make an appointment and we’ll get her looking “showroom” beautiful again.


Fort Worth: Just when you’ve seen it all…

Wow, I really thought I had seen just about everything…until I saw this, and it wasn’t in a James Bond film.

Rinspeed presented its new sQuba, the world’s first diving car, at the Geneva Motor Show a few years ago. The car is not only able to drive on roads autonomously with a push of a button (thus without a driver, passenger or further assistance), but can also transform into an amphibious vehicle which can be submerged in water up to 33 feet. An electric motor with powerful torque drives the rear wheels, while the propulsion on the water is ensured by two propellers in the stern and two powerful jet drives in the bow propelling the vehicle under water while diving. When underwater, the driver and passenger are enclosed in the vehicle thanks to light weight body components made of futuristic Carbon Nano Tubes and are supplied with fresh breathing air by the self-contained on-board system.

Pretty cool, huh? I wonder if it comes with the tuxedo?

Fort Worth: The 9 Eyes of Texas are upon you

Now, I know you came here specifically to find out what exactly the “9 Eyes” are. To quell any fear that it is a giant mutated spider or more red light traffic cameras, the “9 Eyes” are, in fact, a reference to the Google Street View camera. Now, remember, some of the images are not all the most appropriate, but most really give a real view of what street life is from Fort Worth, to New York City, to Bangladesh.

I remember when Google announced that they would be photographing every street and address in the world, my first thought was, “There’s no way they can do that!” My second thought was, “I wonder what those cameras would actually catch?” For example, I have a friend who is in a band said he was going to set up all of his equipment in his driveway for a “Live Band” photo. Of course, I just laughed and said something fairly generic and we moved the conversation on to another topic.

I had forgotten all about his idea until I ran across a web site that is gathering an impressive collection of Google Street View images. From the beautiful to the bizarre, the site looks through the two eyes of Google Street View; the site is nothing but the “best” pics from Google’s roving army.

I thought it was not just impressive, but it turned out for me to be a great way to take a break from rigorous work day and see what life is like elsewhere int he world. I just wanted to share these really interesting pictures with you. They really get the imagination going. Plus, if you remember that these pictures were taken on the streets while everyday activities were taking place, that just makes them even more intriguing.

Any comments on these photographs? I hope you enjoyed viewing the pictures as much as I did.