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Sprint Smart Drive First App Helps Teens Focus on Driving, Not on Phones



With national and state attention focused on driver safety and distracted driving, Sprint is doing its part with its Drive First app for Android phones that will help to re-focus the attention of young drivers to the road and away from their phones. Sprint Drive First, which is now available as a download and will be pre-installed in all Android smartphones launching on the carrier’s network at the end of Q3, will be able to sense if the car is moving more than 10 MPH. When it senses that a car is in motion, the app will lock the phone, send calls automatically to voicemail, and silence all audible notifications.

Here’s how the app will work:

Shortly after the car exceeds 10 mph – determined using GPS and cell tower triangulation – the mobile phone will be locked. If the driver is using the phone when Sprint Drive First engages, the call will end and the phone lock screen will appear. Anyone texting the driver will receive an automated message indicating the person they texted is driving. The message is customizable by the account holder.

A locked device displays a home screen with exit and emergency 911 buttons to override the app. Sprint Drive First can be overridden if the user is a passenger in a car, on a bus or train, but the parent or account holder can choose to receive notifications when the service is overridden.

Parents have a choice of programming up to five phone numbers to ring through when the phone is locked as well as allowing functionality of three apps, such as navigation, music or weather.

When the application no longer detects movement it unlocks and full device functionality resumes. Sprint Drive First takes into account stop-and-go traffic, so the driver needs to be sitting idle for a few minutes before it will unlock.

The app is now debuting for the Android platform and will be coming to BlackBerry and other operating systems in the coming months according to the carrier’s press release.

At this point, Sprint is charging $2 per month for the Drive First app, which could be a valuable investment in safety if you have teen drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 20 percent of all traffic accidents in 2009 involved distracted driving, of which drivers under the age of 20 were responsible for a disproportionately large number of those accidents. And the chief cause of driver distraction is the mobile phone. Given Sprint’s evolving portfolio of devices that now offer powerful features beyond just emails, phone calls, and texting, young drivers now have more causes for distraction with their mobile handset, and the Drive First app is a nice first step in combating distracted driving.

To get the app and learn more about the Drive First initiative, you can visit and



  1. hmm

    09/13/2011 at 4:49 pm

    What if the person is just riding in the passenger seat?

    • Seernanic

      09/15/2011 at 8:01 pm

      The article clearly says “Sprint Drive First can be overridden if the user is a passenger in a car, on a bus or train, but the parent or account holder can choose to receive notifications when the service is overridden”.

  2. Frank Gibson

    09/14/2011 at 8:38 pm

    Great article. MOTOsafety, your teen driving coach, is a new
    service that gives parents a great way to monitor and coach their teenage
    drivers. The tool provides insights on safe driving habits such as speeding,
    harsh braking and rapid acceleration. MOTOsafety gives parents a great tool for
    increasing the safety of teens on the road. Learn more at

  3. Teraya

    12/12/2011 at 3:24 pm

    It would be nice to see the service providers offer this app at no cost
    to the customer, as a charitable donation to everyone’s safety. 

  4. Mouhamad A. Naboulsi

    12/23/2011 at 9:59 pm

    These apps are just another money source to companies and not a complete solution.  The apps can be overridden by the driver or can be configured to allow certain calls In and To specific number.  At that time, the driver will be right back where the problem begin and he is subject to driver distraction.

    These applications and similar ones are as good as turning the phone off and then turning it back on when you need to use it.  It is actually easier to do so manually, then to enter and exit the application while driving.

    driver distraction is not about talking on the phone and the latest research by NHTSA shows that the converstaion is not the risk factor as the NSC and older research claim.  so we should not be preventing conversation but preventing distraction.

    A True solution to preventing driver distraction must be built on true human factor and ergonomic priciples.  The need is to integrate man, machine, enviornment and regulation into a single system. exhibit such a system.  The system is not on sale so this is not an advertisement but a proof that there is a real solution outhere and we should cut the pure greed and the mickey mouse applications that is totally useless.

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