Sprint is hoping to reduce the number of texting and driving related accidents with their new Drive First Android app. The app is designed to lock your phone and make it pretty much inoperable when you are driving.
Using GPS and cell phone towers, when the app detects that you’re in a moving vehicle that’s traveling at 10MPH or more, it automatically disables your phone’s functionality and directs incoming calls to your voice mail. If someone texts you while you’re driving, the sender will receive a text message letting them know that you are currently driving (or any message that you customize).
When the phone is locked, it displays an exit button and an emergency 911 button. In the event that you’re passenger in a car, bus, or any other moving vehicle, you can disable the app and use your phone freely. For parents using the app to keep their children safe, a notification can be sent to you if the service is overridden.
Once the app detects that the vehicle is no longer moving for a few minutes, it unlocks and full device functionality is restored.
Pricing and availability
It would have been great if Sprint made this app free, but, unfortunately, that’s not the case. The app is now available on all Sprint CDMA Android phone but will cost you $2 per month, per phone. It will be available for Blackberry and other smartphone operating systems in the future. Parents can enable the app by visiting www.sprint.com/drivefirst. Once activated, the app will need to be downloaded from the Android Market.
Check out the full press release below.
Sprint Drive First Application Helps Parents Combat Distracted Driving
Mobile Phone is Automatically Disabled While Driving; Incoming Calls Go Directly to Voice Mail; Those Sending Text Messages Receive Auto Response; Distracting Alerts are Silenced
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), September 12, 2011 – Parents worry when their teenager is behind the wheel of a car. Sprint (NYSE: S) is helping ease the minds of parents by launching Sprint Drive First, a new application that automatically locks a mobile phone when a car is moving more than 10 mph, disabling phone functionality, directing incoming calls to voice mail, and silencing distracting alerts for emails and text messages.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 20 percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. Of those killed in distracted-driving-related crashes, 995 involved reports of a mobile phone as a distraction (18 percent of fatalities in distraction-related crashes). The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group – 16 percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving. (NHTSA)
How to Get Sprint Drive First
Sprint Drive First, powered by Location Labs, is now available on all Sprint CDMA Android™-powered smartphones for $2 per month per phone and will be offered on BlackBerry® devices and other operating systems in coming months. Parents get started by registering for an account at www.sprint.com/drivefirst. On this website, they will see a list of phones on their account, select the phones to which they want to add the app, and they will receive detailed instructions on how to get the app. For phones already in the market, a software download is required to activate the service.* All Sprint Android-powered smartphones launching after late Q3 will have the Sprint Drive First software preinstalled and will not require a download to activate the service.
Details about Sprint Drive First
Shortly after the car exceeds 10 mph – determined using GPS and cell tower triangulation – the mobile phone will be locked. If the driver is using the phone when Sprint Drive First engages, the call will end and the phone lock screen will appear. Anyone texting the driver will receive an automated message indicating the person they texted is driving. The message is customizable by the account holder.
A locked device displays a home screen with exit and emergency 911 buttons to override the app. Sprint Drive First can be overridden if the user is a passenger in a car, on a bus or train, but the parent or account holder can choose to receive notifications when the service is overridden.
Parents have a choice of programming up to five phone numbers to ring through when the phone is locked as well as allowing functionality of three apps, such as navigation, music or weather.
When the application no longer detects movement it unlocks and full device functionality resumes. Sprint Drive First takes into account stop-and-go traffic, so the driver needs to be sitting idle for a few minutes before it will unlock.
Sprint’s Distracted Driving Initiatives
“Sprint Drive First is another action Sprint is taking to encourage its customers to use their phones responsibly behind the wheel,” said David Owens, vice president-Product Development, Sprint. “We want to help our customers arrive at their destination. Texting while driving makes drivers four times more likely to crash their car. The person you want to call or text will be there when you get done with your drive; we want to make sure that you are, too.”
“Location Lab’s goal is to empower today’s parents with the tools they need to better protect their families,” said Tasso Roumeliotis, CEO of Location Labs. “Our collaboration with Sprint not only addresses distracted driving but makes the Drive First technology widely accessible, offering Sprint subscribers an easy way to gain peace of mind when their loved ones are on the go.”
Since 2005 Sprint has worked on behalf of its customers and employees on the issue of distracted driving – including sponsoring national and local driver safety programs for teenagers and adults; releasing a distracted driving pledge for Sprint customers and employees; and developing a robust portfolio of distracted driving mobile applications and resources for general and business consumers.
More information on Sprint’s distracted driving efforts can be found at sprint.com/focusondriving.