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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

DriveMode anti-texting-and-driving BlackBerry app launched by AT&T



fb_badge.gifDistracted driving is a huge problem right now and I continue to be impressed by AT&T's efforts to educate their customers about the perils of texting while driving. I've told you about their "It Can Wait" campaign before, which includes the riveting and emotional "The Last Text" video. Now AT&T has released a new BlackBerry app aimed at discouraging drivers from texting at the wheel.

The AT&T DriveMode app sends customizable replies to incoming texts to let those sending the messages know the person they're trying to reach is either behind the wheel or otherwise unable to respond. The auto-response is similar to an “out-of-office” email alert. The app is available for free through the AT&T AppCenter and BlackBerry App World. AT&T plans to release the app for additional mobile operating systems in the coming months.

With the app installed on their BlackBerry device, users must manually engage the auto-reply features in the app prior to driving. The app also can be used to disable incoming email, incoming and outgoing calls and Web browsing. A special "Allow List" can be set up with up to five contact numbers that can still be dialed or received when the app is running. These numbers are in addition to 911 which already is an allowed number when the app is running. Additionally, a "Music and Navigation" setting allows the use of one music and one navigation app running concurrently with the DriveMode app. When the app is off the phone functions normally for incoming and outgoing communication.

When you download the app you also are automatically taking AT&T’s “Txtng & Driving…It Can Wait” pledge to join more than 63,000 others who have made the commitment to stop texting behind the wheel.

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The original idea for AT&T DriveMode came from the The Innovation Pipeline or TIP, an internal program that utilizes creative ideas from AT&T employees. The DriveMode app was voted one of the top ideas and therefore was developed for release the mobile community.

I don't have access to a BlackBerry so I can't test this app. Any BlackBerry users want to give it a go for me and report back?

[Last modified: Thursday, September 8, 2011 4:41pm]


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