News by Dan Seifert on Monday September 12, 2011.
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Sprint has announced a new app for smartphones that is designed to keep the phone out of the hands of drivers when they are behind the wheel. The Drive First app will automatically lock the phone when a vehicle is moving, preventing the use of the device.
The app uses GPS and cell tower triangulation to determine the speed of the vehicle it is in. When the phone senses that it is moving faster than 10 M.P.H., it will lock, preventing any use of the phone's functions. If the user is in a call when Drive First senses the movement, the call will end and the lockscreen will appear. Anyone who sends a text message to the phone when Drive First is engaged will get a customizable automated reply saying the user is currently driving.
When Drive First locks the phone, there are buttons to place emergency 911 calls and to exit the app. The app can be overridden when the user is a passenger in a car, bus, or train, but parents can opt for notifications when the app has been disabled. Up to five phones can be programmed to ring through to the phone when it is locked, and users can allow up to three apps to be used in the phone's locked state. The Drive First app will not unlock the device until it has been sitting still for a number of minutes.
Sprint's Drive First app is available now for Sprint Android smartphones. It will be available for BlackBerry smartphones in the near future. Use of the app requires a $2 per month subscription fee, and parents can control and monitor the Drive First features on their account from www.sprint.com/drivefirst. The Drive First app will be pre-installed on all Sprint Android smartphones beginning in Q3.
Dan is MobileBurn.com's Editor-in-Chief. Based in Poughkeepsie in New York, Dan can be found on Twitter as @DCSeifert.