Sprint Offers Android Based Distracted Driving App err… App to Reduce Distracted Driving

Today Sprint CEO Dan Hesse announced, at CTIA, Sprint® Drive FirstTM . The android based app created by Location Labs will cost $2/month and is designed to:

  • 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.

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and along with Sprint Drive First, Sprint will introduce a new interactive distracted-driving pledge that Sprint customers will be able to access online.

This is all fine and dandy.  It’s great that the carriers are getting involved in dealing with distracted driving and not just sticking their head in the sand.

That being said, I have one complaint and one major issue.

The complaint is that the app has to be downloaded and enabled.  Most users will not opt-in to an application like this.  In fact, those users that would are probably the same users that don’t really need it.  The user pool we are left with is business users and teenagers (both specifically mentioned in the release) far from enough to bring an end to distracted driving.  This is a fault of all apps of this type, but maybe its still better than nothing.

The major issue is… Why the hell is Sprint charging for this?  If Mr Hesse was serious when he said, “As mobile data usage continues to grow in popularity, Sprint wants to ensure its wireless consumers engage in safe behavior for themselves and others.” Then offer it for free! I understand  there are connectivity costs and I’m sure Location Labs wants to get paid, but if you’re serious about the safety of your users and those around them then you offer this app for free and make the financials work somewhere else.

There are already a number of apps out there that serve these functions and I would expect more in the near future.

via [Sprint]

Full Release Below

Sprint Introduces New Mobile Solution to Combat Distracted Driving

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), March 22, 2011 – In the lead-up to National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Sprint (NYSE:S) CEO Dan Hesse today announced to attendees at the International CTIA WIRELESS 2011 Show that Sprint later this year will offer Sprint® Drive FirstTM – the wireless carrier’s first safe-driving solution to help wireless consumers safely manage their mobile devices and focus on driving while they’re behind the wheel.

“As a parent, I am proud that Sprint is offering distracted driving solutions like Sprint Drive First, which effectively helps wireless customers manage their usage, stay safe behind the wheel and focus their attention on driving,” Hesse said. “As mobile data usage continues to grow in popularity, Sprint wants to ensure its wireless consumers engage in safe behavior for themselves and others.”

Sprint plans to make Drive First available in the third quarter of 2011 on AndroidTM mobile phones for Sprint customers and will require a $2-per-month charge (excluding surcharges and taxes) for each device that utilizes its features.

Created by Location Labs, Sprint Drive First is designed to do the following when driving is detected:

  • 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.

“Location Labs continues to develop best-of-breed personal and family safety services that unlock the power of smart devices for users of all ages,” said Location Labs CEO Tasso Roumeliotis. “We are thrilled to partner with Sprint, which is once again showing a real commitment to family and personal safety by offering DriveFirst to Sprint customers.”

Attendees at the International CTIA WIRELESS 2011 Show can demo Sprint Drive First and other distracted driving solutions at the “Sprint Innovation Station” in the exhibitor hall.

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and along with Sprint Drive First, Sprint will introduce a new interactive distracted-driving pledge that Sprint customers will be able to access online.

Since 2005, Sprint has advocated on behalf of its customers and employees on the dangers of distracted driving and worked with schools, nonprofit organizations and product developers to combat texting while driving. Sprint also has been an advocate for its employee pledge to not text and drive.

Sprint recently participated in an episode of ABC’s Extreme Makeover:Home Edition (Sundays, 8 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. CT) that focused on distracted driving – donating more than $100,000 in mobile devices, wireless service and a monetary contribution to the Brown family of Wellman, Texas, in connection with the Remember Alex Brown Foundation.

More information on Sprint’s distracted driving efforts can be found at sprint.com/focusondriving. At this site visitors can access a database of useful distracted-driving mobile applications, and find other helpful resources on responsible driving behavior.

About Sprint Nextel

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 49.9 million customers at the end of 2010 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 6 in its 2010 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.

 

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