Texting While Driving? T-Mobile and Location Labs Launch DriveSmart to Help you Say ‘No’


Today T-Mobile and Locations Labs are doing their part to help cut back on texting while driving with the launch of DriveSmart Plus, what they are calling the “industry’s first carrier-grade service” to help prevent distracted driving. DriveSmart Plus works by detecting when you are driving and then disabling most of your phones messaging and calling services.

Vice president of applications, content, and games at T-Mobile, Torrie Dorrell says, “We feel strongly that with this freedom comes the responsibility to use their phones only when it is safe to do so. The T-Mobile DriveSmart Plus application is designed to keep our customers, their loved ones and the road safe.”

DriveSmart Basic will come pre-installed on many T-Mobile Android devices and requires that driving mode be set manually, while as mentioned before the Plus version will do so automatically at the cost of a subscription. Other features include text message alerts for parents when a child overrides driving mode and a web interface for tracking phone usage while driving.

The whole service is opt-in, so you only use it if you want to. We say bravo to TMo and crew for taking a stand against such an easily avoidable source of danger on our roads. DriveSmart certainly isn’t the first app to take a stab at limiting distracted driving, but with the carrier support we may get a few more responsible drivers out of it.

Location Labs Launches First Carrier-Grade Solution to Help T-Mobile Customers Prevent Texting While Driving

Leader in Mobile Personal Safety and Communication Products Attacks Distracted Driving Epidemic by Launching DriveSmart Plus with Automatic Driving Detections

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Location Labs, the leading provider of mobile location-as-a-service infrastructure and applications, today announced the launch of its DriveSmart™ Plus application on T-Mobile® devices, the industry’s first carrier-grade service to help prevent texting while driving, specifically designed for T-Mobile customers with Android™ smartphones.

DriveSmart Plus is a subscription-based, opt-in service that automatically detects when a handset user is driving and sets the phone into a ‘Driving Mode’. Once this service is activated, it disables most texting and calling features to the handset while the car is in motion, ultimately decreasing the possibility of unsafe, distracted driving.

“With our blazing fast network speeds, T-Mobile customers can do more on their phones than ever before while on the go,” said Torrie Dorrell, vice president of applications, content and games, T-Mobile USA. “We feel strongly that with this freedom comes the responsibility to use their phones only when it is safe to do so. The T-Mobile DriveSmart Plus application is designed to keep our customers, their loved ones and the road safe.”

“We continue to invest heavily in mobile personal safety services, for which we are seeing huge demand from consumers and families,” said Tasso Roumeliotis, CEO of Location Labs. “We are thrilled to launch DriveSmart Plus on T-Mobile with our patent-pending drive-detection technology to help address the national crisis of distracted driving.”

DriveSmart Plus

The industry’s first carrier-branded service to help prevent texting while driving, DriveSmart Plus, automatically detects when a user may be driving and sets the phone into ‘Driving Mode’, sending incoming calls directly to voicemail and preventing access to text messages, except through applications specified by the customer. Additionally, an auto-response text message is sent to the person who phoned or texted alerting them the recipient is driving and unavailable to receive calls or messages.

In the event of an emergency or if the user is a passenger in a car, DriveSmart Plus 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 the DriveSmart Web interface.

DriveSmart Plus, powered by Location Labs, is available for download onto the LG Optimus T™, with support for more devices coming soon. T-Mobile subscribers can also visit to learn more about the service.

About Location Labs

Location Labs is the leader in mobile location-as-a-service with consumer products that enhance the personal safety of millions of users and a location platform that enables 2,000+ developers to build their own rich location-based applications.
The company operates the world’s most successful mobile location-based personal safety service, powering nearly a dozen products for Tier 1 carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Recent accolades include: 2010 Inc. 500 list of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies and San Francisco Business Journal’s “Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies”. The company has raised $26MM in venture financing from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, BlueRun Ventures (formerly Nokia Venture Partners), QUALCOMM Ventures, Intel Capital, and Mitsui Ventures. The company was previously operating as Wavemarket, Inc. More information:

Kevin Krause
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  1. I could see maybe parents wanting to pay for this for their kids, but I still don’t understand how it detects if your driving, or a passenger in a car.

  2. I’ve just been using the Dragon dictation through hands-free mode to respond to text messages on the mytouch 4g. Does a decent enough job:)

  3. Agh lol and I was thinking of trying to create an app like this for iPhone/Android :'(

  4. Maybe there’s something I’m not understanding here, but I don’t see how this software could detect anything other than the fact that you are moving. How could it possibly know if you’re a passenger in a car, bus or train? IMO people may try this out for a bit, but it will only take a few false assumptions from this app before people grow tired of the hassle and give up on it. And I wonder how this might affect other apps that use/rely on SMS.

    Oh, and I don’t see how any external resources are needed to make the app do its job, so a subscription to make it work automatically seems a bit absurd to me.

  5. This app will only serve to annoy passengers in cars, busses, and trains.The people who text while driving know how dangerous it can be, but they either don’t care or overestimate their driving ability. This app will never work because the people who text while driving will simply disable the app and continue to text until they either kill someone or themselves.

  6. Yep, this app will just detect your speed using the GPS, and then disable calling and texting when speed > X. So, it will be annoying to passengers who want to use the phone and when using any form of mass transit. The kids will just constantly disable it, and the parents will give up and cancel the service.

  7. For this type of idea to truly work, there needs to be an app that runs in the background, unknown to the kids, which is triggered by a physical device hardwired into the car using BT or SMS to send the commands.

    *Runs to the patent office*

  8. omg …is this why my driving mode goes on automatically when im driving and gps is n?? anyone els have this happpen on mt4g????????

  9. Texting while driving? I can’t see why would you do that. I tried it once but failed!

  10. Potentially useful to prevent teens from texting while driving, IF their parents are tech savvy enough to set it up. But while texting teens is certainly an issue, they’re not the only issue. Adults who text and drive certainly won’t sign up for this “service.”

  11. Hmmm, seems more like a liability CYA than a useful feature.

  12. Text and Drive specifically was the cause of 16,141 highway deaths from 2001 to 2007 and over 200,000 non fatal accidents last year. For every 6 seconds a driver spends texting, 4.6 of those seconds are with their eyes off the road, which makes texting the most dangerous cell phone activity anyone can engage in while operating a 5,000 pound piece of steel and glass. If technology is going to help, it should get ANY age driver’s eyes back on the road where they belong.

    I decided to do something about distracted driving after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting mom. Instead of an expensive shackle with recurring fees that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens), I built a tool called OTTER that is a simple GPS based, texting auto reply app for smartphones. It also silences call ringtones while driving unless you have a bluetooth enabled. Its an easy way for any user (NOT just teens) to manage that text and drive temptation.

    Erik Wood, owner
    OTTER app (live since April 2010!)

  13. If you’re worried about this feature, just get a Samsung phone and the GPS will never have a clue

  14. Why do people comment before reading the article? It doesn’t know if you’re driving or a passenger but you have the option to override. Making this not a safety feature just an annoyance. People know when they should or shouldn’t do something, why should technology try to step in to enforce a nanny state?!!

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