Sprint Combats Distracted Teen Driving With New Application For Parents


Sprint is taking their customer safety to a whole new level with the release of their new custom “Drive First” application for all Android powered devices. In a press release today, Sprint talked more about this new tool parents can use to keep their kids off the phone and on the road while they’re driving. The app will be able to detect when the car being driven goes over 10mph and from there will lock down the device, sending calls to voicemail, answering texts messages with an auto-reply and silencing alerts that could distract your easily distracted teenage driver. While the service is available for Sprint’s entire Android lineup, the service and peace of mind will cost an extra $2 a month. If you want to check out the 15 day free trial, here’s the link. Full press release below:

Sprint Drive First Application Helps Parents Combat Distracted Driving

Mobile Phone is Automatically Disabled While Driving; Incoming Calls Go Directly to Voice Mail; Those Sending Text Messages Receive Auto Response; Distracting Alerts are Silenced

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), September 12, 2011 – Parents worry when their teenager is behind the wheel of a car. Sprint (NYSE: S) is helping ease the minds of parents by launching Sprint Drive First, a new application that automatically locks a mobile phone when a car is moving more than 10 mph, disabling phone functionality, directing incoming calls to voice mail, and silencing distracting alerts for emails and text messages.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 20 percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. Of those killed in distracted-driving-related crashes, 995 involved reports of a mobile phone as a distraction (18 percent of fatalities in distraction-related crashes). The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group – 16 percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving. (NHTSA)

How to Get Sprint Drive First

Sprint Drive First, powered by Location Labs, is now available on all Sprint CDMA Android™-powered smartphones for $2 per month per phone and will be offered on BlackBerry® devices and other operating systems in coming months. Parents get started by registering for an account at On this website, they will see a list of phones on their account, select the phones to which they want to add the app, and they will receive detailed instructions on how to get the app. For phones already in the market, a software download is required to activate the service.* All Sprint Android-powered smartphones launching after late Q3 will have the Sprint Drive First software preinstalled and will not require a download to activate the service.

Details about Sprint Drive First

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.

Sprint’s Distracted Driving Initiatives

“Sprint Drive First is another action Sprint is taking to encourage its customers to use their phones responsibly behind the wheel,” said David Owens, vice president-Product Development, Sprint. “We want to help our customers arrive at their destination. Texting while driving makes drivers four times more likely to crash their car. The person you want to call or text will be there when you get done with your drive; we want to make sure that you are, too.”

“Location Lab’s goal is to empower today’s parents with the tools they need to better protect their families,” said Tasso Roumeliotis, CEO of Location Labs. “Our collaboration with Sprint not only addresses distracted driving but makes the Drive First technology widely accessible, offering Sprint subscribers an easy way to gain peace of mind when their loved ones are on the go.”

Since 2005 Sprint has worked on behalf of its customers and employees on the issue of distracted driving – including sponsoring national and local driver safety programs for teenagers and adults; releasing a distracted driving pledge for Sprint customers and employees; and developing a robust portfolio of distracted driving mobile applications and resources for general and business consumers.

More information on Sprint’s distracted driving efforts can be found at

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Yeah, great
    Now when your not even driving and just in any moving vehicle, in the passenger seat, back seat, on the bus, subway etc and your phone locks you from using it…..
    Oh, it can be easily bypassed? O..K…. so what’s the point again o_O? lol

    1. Bypassed but it notifies the account holder. That way if it’s “unauthorized” the teen can get a swift whoopin’ =p

      1. Makes sense, thanks. :)

  2. At first I thought it sounded like a pretty good idea. But then the fact it can be overridden doesnt make it quite as good. I do understand if youre not driving yourself you can use the device but how many parents are really going to do enough to discourage it being done when they are the ones driving. Or for that matter, “yes I unlocked it but I was with so and so” but yet they really weren’t. Then on top of that instead of having this app for safety it then turns into give us money to use it. Bah I think all the carriers get enough of our money. Yeah its only $2 but its mine.

  3. Att already has this, its free.
    I just doing want it. I could see my wife calling me to turn around I forgot something. But I’ve already drove an hour away.

    1. “Parents have a choice of programming up to five phone numbers to ring through when the phone is locked” (7th P)

  4. Google Voice needs to be made more open so that it works like a regular texting app. Stuff like this doesn’t work with it. 8(

    (Though I guess on Sprint Google Voice can be integrated better than on other carriers)

  5. Frnds don’t let frnds txt n drv.

    A good friend holds the wheel for the driver while he is busy texting.

    1. Auto-Pilot

  6. I recognize everyone has a right to make a buck, but shouldn’t some things like saving teen’s lives be given for free just to build a little corporate respect?

    1. That means you agree to free healthcare? Get what you’re saying? Though I do get where you’re coming from.

      But some people may think that it’s kinda useless since teens can ROOT their phones and the parent will never know. Dun dun duuun

  7. This is fine and dandy but half the time I can’t get my family locator to work properly and locate my family. So I doubt this won’t be any different and won’t work either!!!

  8. 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

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