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New Sprint App Prevents Texting and Talking While Driving

“I hear, almost daily, accounts of people who are injured while texting and driving,” said Dr. Angela Gardner, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. Gardner said “It has stopped being an oddity when we hear that someone was texting and has a wreck. Now it’s more of a fairly common occurrence…While sending out a status update during a leisurely drive may seem innocuous,  it only takes a moment for distracted drivers to become vulnerable.”

Texting and talking on the phone while driving is very dangerous. We all know this, yet many people continue to do it. The Governors Highway Safety Association combed through over ten year’s worth of data about the causes of car crashes, and found that cell phone-related distractions accounted for 15 to 25 percent of crashes, according to PC Mag. The figure is likely even higher since law enforcement might not catch every driver using his cell phone before an accident.

And don’t let those hands-free headsets lull you into a false sense of security when you’re using your cell phone on the road. An auto safety group recently warned that any use of a cell phone, hands-free or not, can be distracting enough to cause a car crash.

To keep drivers safe and prevent distracted driving, Sprint (NYSE: S) has launched  a new app called Sprint Drive First. The app locks your phone when you’re driving over 10 miles per hour, and alerts your loved ones when the phone has been locked.

First, the app determines how fast your car is going by using GPS and cell tower triangulation. Once your car exceeds 10 mph, the phone is automatically locked. Incoming calls are directed to voicemail and email and text message alerts are silenced. All voice calls and texting going on at the time will immediately end. The locked status can only be overridden if the user is a passenger in the car.

Loved ones can also sign up to receive an alert once the app locks their device. Users can program up to five phone numbers from which to receive alerts.

Sprint Drive First is available to all Sprint Android users for $2 a month, and will support BlackBerry and “other operating systems” in the coming months. All Sprint Android-powered smartphones launching after late Q3 will have Sprint Drive First software preinstalled. For a limited time, Sprint is offering a free 15-day trial.