If you are a parent on the Sprint network, the appeal to get an Android device just got even higher, as today Sprint has announced that they will be adding parental locks to all Android devices. Location Labs has created an application for Sprint that will become available in Q3, and carry a $2 monthly charge, but the protection it will provide is priceless. Some of the features of the application are:

  • Lock the driver’s cell phone screen and redirect calls to voice mail.
  • Block text-message alerts and auto-respond to the message sender that the driver is currently unavailable.
  • Allow access to three key contacts and three mobile applications, such as GPS navigation.
  • Give parents and business administrators Web portal access to configure Drive First for their teens’ or employees’ mobile devices.

Definitely a step in the right direction, and a huge help from the carrier in an attempt to completely stop use of cell phones while in the car without a bluetooth headset. [Sprint]


Reader comments

Sprint to bring parental locks to Android phones to prevent use while driving


According to Location Labs' website:

"Location Labs’ Safe Driving product for smart phones automatically detects when a user is driving and sets the phone into a ‘Driving Mode’, disabling most texting and calling features to the handset while the car is in motion, ultimately decreasing the possibility of unsafe, distracted driving.

Assuming it detects this while the phone is in motion, that would mean they cannot use their phone when they hop on a bus, train or even the back seat? Well, for some people I see on the road this tradeoff may very well be worth it.

My first thoughts as well. You would assume if it automatically detects you are driving that it must do so through motion sensors. If this is the case there is no way for it to tell if you are actually driving or just riding in a vehicle.

Perhaps there will be some kind of optional "kill" switch that allows the person to override the lockout but would report that to the parent or on a log somewhere.

That way you can put some responsibility back in the hands of the person. If a parent sees that a child used the "kill" switch during a time in which the parent knows they were driving and not just riding they can remove the kill switch option.

We have to give some responsibility to the child, we do however also want to take away distractions when driving.

nevermind that looking at GPS is equally bad to texting, and nevermind that many studies have shown that its the act of talking on the phone that is the main distraction, not holding the phone.

In BC, Canada the law has bee in for about a couple years now and every single day I see people still yapping on their phone while driving (holding the phone to their head), either people don't know about the law or don't care. I'm also in a town with the worst driving in Canada if not N. America (maybe Austin, TX is worse) which is probably part of the cause.

There are organizations going after auto manufacturers on the dashboard computers, I think putting those things in is a bad idea.

You make no allowance for the fact that much of the issue is hype not supported by actual accident statistics.

When you dig thru ntsb accident stats, cell caused accidents are vanishingly small in number in spite of the fact that police check off the cell phone checkbox if a cell is found anywhere in the front seat area of an involved vehicle.

When you have lost a loved one because of cellphone distracted driving, you might have a change of heart to "the fact that much of the issue is hype...". Pretty shallow thinking.

No, "when you have lost a loved one..." is shallow thinking, because it ignores empirical evidence in favor of emotional melodrama.

It also gets politicians elected, because few people make political decisions rationally. That's why cell phone use is being outlawed while eating and drinking on the road, repeatedly shown to be more dangerous through actual statistics rather than moving anecdotes, will never be outlawed. People are more annoyed by seeing a phone held up to someone's head (I know I am) than by seeing someone take a sip of coffee or a bite of a cheeseburger.

When fatalities fail to decrease over the next few years, the lawmakers who have banned handheld phone usage won't realize their mistake; they'll increase penalties, outlaw even Bluetooth and speakerphone usage, and ultimately give the cops cell phone detectors to go with their radar detectors. People whose livelihood depends upon it will still risk making calls on the road, the states will make a little more money because of the fines, lawyers will make a little more money from people with money who can't afford to have points on their license, the roads still won't be any safer, and people like you will have moved on to the next "please think of the children" emotional hot button.

Tell that to the family of a cyclist crossing the crosswalk while some dumbass in a 4 ton pickup drives over and killing him while on the cell phone, also 2 days ago a woman got hit by a driver coming out of the shopping mall parking lot, ALSO on the cell. Oh and some guy driving a Bugatti Veyron in Texas not long ago smashed the car up and he claimed that he "dropped his cell phone and attempted to pick it up".

Drunk driving is still worse though.

I may get into a lot of trouble for this one, but most of the surveys are indeed not truthful about their findings. I will agree that in most cases talking on your phone while driving can be dangerous or potentially dangerous. BUT it all also depends on what you are talking about. If you are having a regular civil conversation then its not as "high risk" as some will actually have you believe.

The real danger is when the conversation is about a subject that will otherwise leave you agitated, annoyed or otherwise require you to take notes or do stuff "off the shelf" while driving. That is where the danger lies.

I believe most of this hype about how dangerous it is to drive while talking on a cell phone is ridiculous. Even the Mythbusters did a test about talking on a cell phone vs driving drunk and I was pretty shocked at how unscientific the test actually was. For some reason, people can't seem to remain unbiased when testing the supposed dangers of using a cell phone while driving.

It's all about common sense. If you have to make a complicated turn or maneuver, just say "Hey, hold on" and stop the conversation. It's not difficult.

From Location Labs website:

"In the event of an emergency or if the user is a passenger in a car, Safe Driving allows the user to override ‘Driving Mode’. Parents can choose to be notified by text message or e-mail when the override occurs and can view phone usage during the override from a Web interface."

Just like Family Locator when they turn the GPS off.

I have really mixed emotions about this.

on one hand i am all for blocking texting and talking on the road. It's a good thing and i don't want to be on the road with people who do text and drive. Esp when i am on my motorcycle.

but yet on the other hand it makes me mad that the agencies and the government have to step in and tell people they can and cannot do when it comes to common sense type stuff.

It's not that government and agencies are telling people what to do, they're just putting in the framework that allows them to enforce prosecution when people do stupid things like texting while driving.

I understand that. But their are laws in place to make people practice common sense laws. Like here in Ohio if you have your wipers on you must have your headlights on. It's 105.oo ticket if you don't. Why did they do this? well in the rain visibility goes down. would you agree? Well they are making one practice common sense via the law. One would thing "well i cannot see that well when it's raining and others can't see me as well i ought to improve the situation". But nope... good ole' uncle sam protects the knuckle heads from them selves.

Awesome. One more step in the nanny state direction. How much longer until a law is passed requiring this software instead of making it optional. The studies that "prove" phones cause accidents are just as poor as the ones that "prove" man made global cooling, Im sorry, global warming, Im sorry, global climate change.

Ugh...you had me until your ignorant comment about global warming.

DAMN IT, my comment isn't spam! Stop saying that!

Please spare me the "nanny state" argument, it's completely specious. I gather your are a highly political person, but this service is 100% optional and supplied by a private company due to consumer demand. You should be all for it. Your "how much longer" argument is a prime example of slippery slope arguments at their worst.

These types of things are annoying. Reminds me of the GPS unit in our Van. It refuses to let you do ANYTHING related to text entry on the device (making punching in addresses useless) while the car is in motion. Never mind that I'm the damn passenger.. It's super annoying.

As a teen I was the passenger in the car at least 50% of the time I was in one. If my phone was disabled that'd be really stupid, and all you're going to get is parents pissed off because their kids don't answer and they'll just say "Oh well I was in a car, it kept going to voicemail and I couldn't call you back"

Oh and bracing for androidcentral's spam captcha that gets triggered on EVERY post...

"In the event of an emergency or if the user is a passenger in a car, Safe Driving allows the user to override ‘Driving Mode’. Parents can choose to be notified by text message or e-mail when the override occurs and can view phone usage during the override from a Web interface."

"Definitely a step in the right direction, and a huge help from the carrier in an attempt to completely stop use of cell phones while in the car without a bluetooth headset."

This shows a complete misunderstanding of what actually causes any car-cell issues. Its the conversation, not the holding the phone that is the issue. And there are plenty of other distractions that are allowed in the car. Maybe we need to put drivers in a box where they cant touh the radio, cant talk to passengers, etc.

The danger from cell phones is vastly overstated. Just like with alcohol, if a cell phone was even involved in any part of the accident, even the one not at fault, it gets logged as a cell-phone related incident. Most of the time when you see a bad driver and then see them on a cell phone... those drivers are pretty shitty drivers without the cell phone too.

Here in Georgia, laws have been passed to stop talking on the cell while driving without a Bluetooth headset. Texting and driving has already been rendered illegal too. I don't need to be managed by an app that charges me $2 a month to decide when I can use my phone or not. This sounds like something Steve Jobs would do to his iPhone.

How about a bluetooth dongle attached to a car-key that deactivates the phone's network connections during the time that the engine is running?

*turn key, car starts*
>Bluetooth tells phone to deactivate mobile and data networks. Phone does so. Driver drives, knowing he cannot make/take a call or send a text without turning the engine off.
*turn off ignition*
>Bluetooth turns off, phone reconnects to mobile and data networks.

No cheating 'override' switch, that way.