We heard a lot about safe driving initiatives during the CTIA keynote and now AT&T has launched their DriveMode service. What started life as an idea submitted to them, AT&T DriveMode was voted one of the top ideas and as such became a reality thanks to the AT&T Innovation Center. So what exactly is DriveMode?

AT&T DriveMode when enabled provides the option to send calls directly to voicemail, and to send an auto-reply to incoming emails. When the app is turned off, user can view the calls, messages and e-mails as they normally would.

DriveMode users can then pick 5 people which can be included on the "Allowed list" to send and receive calls while the app is running. 911 calls can be made and Music and Navigation settings allow one music and one navigation app to run while AT&T DriveMode is enabled.

The ultimate goal here is reduce distractions when driving therefore keeping drivers and pedestrians safe as possible. No message is important enough to lose a life over so if you find yourself tempted -- grab the app from the Android Market. You'll find the full press release and download link past the break.

Source: AT&T

AT&T DriveMode Update

Dallas, Texas, October 12, 2011

Did you know texting takes your eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds? At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field completely blind.*

To reduce the temptation to text while driving, AT&T offers a simple – and free – mobile application, AT&T DriveMode – now available for its Android™ and BlackBerry® customers.

When downloaded and activated, AT&T DriveMode automatically sends a customizable reply to incoming texts – notifying the sender that the user is driving and unable to respond. The auto-response is similar to an “out-of-office” email alert.**

The app is now available at no charge to download through the Android Market, BlackBerry App World™ and AT&T AppCenter, with more supporting operating systems planned in the coming months.

AT&T’s anti-texting-while-driving mobile solution is part of the company’s broader “It Can Wait” campaign that aims to stigmatize texting while driving.

The AT&T DriveMode app stemmed from an idea that was originally submitted to The Innovation Pipeline (TIP), AT&T’s unique online crowd-sourcing tool that harnesses the creative talent of AT&T employees. Participants submit their ideas through an online platform, get feedback from others and secure funding for development of the program. AT&T DriveMode was voted one of the top ideas and was subsequently developed into today’s application.

HOW THE APP WORKS:

Once downloaded, customers can manually enable the app prior to driving, activating the auto-reply feature.

The app also provides the option to send calls directly to voicemail, and to send an auto-reply to incoming emails. When the app is turned off, user can view the calls, messages and e-mails as they normally would.

AT&T DriveMode also offers additional safety and convenience features, including:

  • The “Allow List” lets users select up to five contact numbers – such as roadside assistance and family members – to send and receive calls while the app is running.
  • 911 is always accessible with just a touch of a button, regardless of whether the app is turned on.
  • Music and Navigation settings allow one music and one navigation app to run while AT&T DriveMode is enabled.
  • By downloading the app, customers are also automatically taking AT&T’s “It Can Wait” pledge, joining the thousands who have made the commitment to not text while driving.
  • For more information and downloadable educational tools related to AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign, please visit: www.att.com/textingcanwait.

*Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Research: www.vtti.vt.edu

**Data and text messaging charges may apply for download and app usage. Standard messaging rates apply to auto-reply messages.  AT&T DriveMode is free to AT&T customers only. Compatible device required.

The BlackBerry and RIM families of related marks, images and symbols are the exclusive properties and trademarks of Research In Motion Limited.

 
There are 15 comments

chief113 says:

Great idea. This should be standard on all phones.

icebike says:

Some of us are adults. Some of us are passengers. Some of us ride the bus.

Those of us who are none of the above but still old enough to drive also know how to defeat this in a New York minute.

Technical substitutes for common sense usually fail.

ScottJ says:

I don't believe it's a mode that's forced upon you. You'd choose to enable it.

Jonneh says:

You usually have great, intelligent responses. What's up?
This thing isn't forced on you, you just enabled and disable it. In fact I think the hardest thing about it would be to remember to enable it when you get into your car.

rstuckmaier says:

This isn't about forcing restraint.
This isn't for people who take short trips, either.

This is for those of us who drive longer trips, and it's more for the OTHER party. This is to let someone know that you aren't ignoring them; you're driving.

chief113 says:

I agree that some of us are adults. But most people are morons. Stand at a busy intersection some day and count how many adults are texting while driving. You'd be surprised.

NicoleW78 says:

On one hand, I think this is a great idea. On the other, I have to wonder whatever happened to common sense and thinking for yourself? Why does it take an app to make people refrain from texting while driving? The auto-responder is great, but I'm still shaking my head that the world has come to this. And for the record, no, I don't text while driving.

fldude99 says:

Maybe not a great analogy, but for the same reason that many people can't put aside any savings without payroll dedution. Voluntary actions are sometimes not easy to pull off

zulu308 says:

I'm pretty sure I heard at CTIA yesterday that the phone automatically go into drivemode when it determine it is moving at a xx speed...

p51d007 says:

I ONLY text at red lights (we have a LOT of them where I come from), the minute it turns green, down goes the phone. If it is that important, I will use that little blinky blinky thingy on the left side of the steering wheel and pull into a lot or business.

dynomike1 says:

I'm going to make an app called "Self-restraint" that, when opened, powers down your phone. ;)

Seems pretty similar to airplane mode to me, except you can still dial 911 immediately.

fldude99 says:

All the comments denigrating this app-give me a break and get a life. Kudos to the developers of this app for trying to do something to discourage dangerous activity. Anything that furthers that cause gets a thumbs up from me

gcnts says:

The auto responder is a good idea. Though the android market has plenty of those already.

As far as standing on the corner to observe how many are texting while driving, also observe how many are combing their hair, or putting on make up, or fussing with that radio or grabbing something off the floor our from the back seat or the glove box. Then count how many of them you see getting in accidents. people who drive distracted will always find something to fiddle with, but they don't all necessarily cause accidents.

I use a bluetooth in order to not get a ticket, but I don't feel that it makes a difference in my driving one way our the other. On the other hand, I see many people with the phone to their ear while driving (even though it is against the law) and most of them seem to new the ones who were a problem in the first place. Also the fact that (in Oregon at least) the law exempts those who need to use their phone for work (emergency vehicles, taxi drivers etc) shows me that people CAN be trained to safely operate these devices while driving.

chief113 says:

I don't understand all the push back on this. Is it safer to drive a car while texting, or when not texting? The answer is simple.