David Papp Blog

Safer Driving with Android Apps

Automatically block/hold texts and calls while driving. Automatically lock your phone. Three apps available which can help out: Drive First by Sprint, DriveMode by AT&T, and Safely Go by Verizon. They can each restrict inbound phone calls to a list. They all block texts and you can customize an automatic reply if desired.

Sprint’s “Drive First” app automatically activates when the phone is in motion faster than 10 miles per hour (16 km/hr). You can still override in emergency (911) situations. Available on Google Play for Android. Compatible with Bluetooth and headsets to allow for calls. Sprint also has a website that allows parents to see what their teen is doing with their phone while driving.

Verizon’s “Safely Go” app needs to be enabled each time you will drive. Available on Google Play for Android. Can configure up to 3 “VIP Contacts” for text and calls. Can access music and navigation while locked.

AT&T’s “DriveMode” app automatically activates at 25 miles per hour (41 km/hr). Available on Google Play for Android. Can configure up to 5 numbers allowing outbound and inbound calls. Can access music and navigation while locked. By far the most popular app in terms of downloads.

You could also simply put your phone in airplane mode or do not disturb if you don’t want to use an app. The ability for the Sprint and AT&T app to automatically lock is quite appealing.

36 thoughts on “Safer Driving with Android Apps”

  1. These are great apps, though I think they won’t be used or appreciated as much as they should. Too many times I’ve seen people take too long to accelerate once a red light has gone green due to their phones! Annoyances aside, it’s incredibly dangerous to drive and use your phone at the same time, especially with other people in the car. People do not realize that they have the lives of other people in their hands, which is a very sad thing.

  2. I love hearing how technology can be helpful in situations that benefit us immensely such as when you are driving and nothing should be distracting your undivided attention to the road. Now if only people would actually download these apps and admit that they have an addictive problem with using their phones in a moving vehicle that they operate. It would save their lives, the lives in their vehicle and the lives in another vehicle they may come across.

  3. I think this is a great idea. Often people nowadays are so busy driving and using their phone they forget how dangerous taking calls while driving can be. Anything that makes road users safer should be applauded. It seems like it is a very intuitive product and knows when to switch on. It must cost a lot though, I do wonder how much it costs and where you can buy it from.

    • Is there a website I can go to to find out more information about this app and how much it costs. I would be interested in finding out the stats on the app in more detail and where you can buy it from. I wonder if these will become popular and turn into a money spinner for the retailers and manufacturers. Its a great idea anyway.

  4. Finally! An app that is really useful, I’m sick of those people that would rather hold traffic than miss a text message. It’s annoying how people have become so selfish that they would not want to delay something for their benefit, good thing apps like this are made. I hope those people use them for good.

  5. This is awesome stuff right here. A way to keep yourself safe on the road! It’s not too intrusive either, but when you’re driving, your cell should just be off. I understand that in the instance of an emergency, it would be a good thing if you were hurt and could easily reach your phone and just type in 911. BUT at the same time, you probably got into that accident because someone else was on their phone! That’s the hard part… Not everyone cares that much about being safe while driving when it comes to their cell phones. There’s not a way to scare them enough except to give them the gory details about how people become dismembered by how serious of an accident they get themselves into because they were distracted! Quite grotesque, but proves a point. Burn an image in a mind like that and it’s likely to stay there.

  6. These apps look great, but two of them turn on based on the velocity of the cellphone. Obviously they did not think of public transport or buses or trains, because in those scenarios you can answer the phone even if you are traveling at a velocity higher then 10 miles. Maybe cellphone manufacturers should start working with car makers in order to block all calls as soon as you enter the car if your car does not posses the equipment to talk while driving.

  7. These are great apps, however, there is no incentive for people to get them. The people that are going to use them are the people that already have enough self-control to not text and drive. If there was some kind of link to your insurance where they could track that you used this during your drives and got insurance breaks, then I believe it would be a bigger hit.

  8. I can’t see this being very helpful. I mean if you really don’t have the will power to not look at your phone while driving, then this app could be useful. But if you really just wanted to ignore your phone while driving you can just turn it on silent and throw it across the seat instead of wasting storage space.

  9. Wow, it is true, there’s an app for that! And those sound like some very beneficial ones to have. I like the features that you talk about. I do not text and drive, but sometimes when an alert goes off, I will wonder if it is something important from family or not. With one of these apps, if the alert goes through I’ll know to pull over and answer.

  10. I could see this tool being used by concerned parents whose teens have just started to begin driving but, outside of that, the market seems thin. The mere action of receiving texts and calls isn’t going to cause an accident, responding to them is. The type of person that would most require this kind of application is going to be the least likely to get it due to lack of incentive. I can’t see this kind of app being common in the near future except with a small, niche audience. On the other hand, the market it does have appreciates them greatly!

  11. These apps seem they would be really useful, especially for teenagers who have just started driving. I kind of wish it was required for these phones to have this safety capabilities installed. There really is not reason not to.

  12. I think these tools are pretty awesome. I like that my samsung Galaxy has a “driving mode” so it reads out when someone texts you and it will even ready the text. I hope we come to a world where people are not texting while driving. It is very unsafe.

  13. Safely Go sounds like it would be the best one for me. Among other things, I’m already on the Verizon network so it would be easy to get. I like the 3 VIP option too, that would be perfect.

  14. I just wonder how can someone use their phone and put your life at risk. It’s simple, put your phone down and once you get to your finally destination then proceed to use it. I’m pretty sure that text or phone call can wait an extra 5 mins or so.

  15. This app is great, but the thing is, I don’t think this app can really do much. It’s still in the control of the user you know. But I think it would help a lot it terms of concentrating on the road since it holds calls and text.

    • Yeah, I don’t understand why something really is so desperate that they need to respond right away. But I do understand why people use their phone sometimes while driving, especially if you’re meeting someone. A quick “im 10 away” sometimes helps and you dont want to pull over for…but still isnt safe, I know.

  16. The Drive First app seems like a great idea… for the people who know they shouldn’t be driving but lack a little bit of self-control. I would use it. It’s kind of like those “drunk locks” for when you’ve been drinking! Those are pretty funny too. The other apps dont seem like theyd be as useful though because you have to keep turning them on manually every time you get in the car! Thats annoying.

  17. Bravo! How nice for Sprint, Verizon and AT&T. This technology was needed since the very same day a cell phone user rode a car. Although, if you ask me, sensing technology may still be more advanced.

    Safer driving should start from the very moment the person enters the vehicle.

    Now we only need new technologies for ​​driving safety are developed with the aim to improve these driver and passenger security goals. No matter if they are based on a novel method, provided it’s a standard which can be openly implemented by all car makers eventually.

    Messages like: “You have entered the vehicle, calling features and text will shut down.” should be heard the second the car door opens and you enter.

    I can visualize these messages in unison when traveling with family and friends.

  18. This is awesome news to me. I can only hope that people actually put this into use. It will definitely make our roads safer especially when we are now so dependent on our phones. A quick alert or buzz sends anyone straight to their phone. I will be looking into the sprint app and see how it goes.

  19. Wow, it’s really nice to see the carriers actually helping people be safer on the roads. I’d like to think that they are doing it out of good will, but the way that they treat their customers normally makes it hard to believe. That makes me wonder if this is a new FCC regulation or something.

  20. Good apps. People tend to use their phone a lot while driving than anywhere else. I have seen a lot of people who would be on a phone call almost the entire journey. Besides, many people text during a red light. There have been many accidents because people text while driving. In my opinion, these apps would make them at least think twice before using their phone while on the road. It is a sad fact that apps like these do not get the attention they deserve.

  21. This does make sense. Teenagers will need this to prevent them from texting. This can save lives.

  22. There should be more companies that offer these apps for their customers. They should also be available for all phones and not just Android. These are some great apps to consider getting because they could save your life and lives of many others. I feel like every phone should be made with some type of safety feature built into them. Not only for texting and driving but also for drinking and driving.

  23. The drive first app should be mandatory for anyone with a driving related criminal record. Seriously, I know it is probably not easy to facilitate, but I would love that idea. Some people just can’t leave their phone along when driving, until its too late…

  24. Teenagers immediately came to mind when reading this post but people of all ages can benefit from these apps. I’m going to download one myself. I have been guilty of looking at my phone and even typing short text messages while driving. It only takes one tiny distraction to cause a serious accident.

  25. I like Drive First and DriveMode, since they both activate automatically when your phone is in motion. Not sure how the phone will respond in slow traffic , as it will go below the required limit for it to be enabled. I would want any motion of the vehicle to enable it, but that would be a problem if you are running or jogging, but that is really ok.

  26. Apps like these that increase the safety of drivers are much more important than people see them as. Use of phones while driving is extremely dangerous and has become quite an issue. With it becoming illegal in certain states, safeguards need to be put into place to prevent its use. Even if people are unwilling, like seatbelts, they need to be used.

  27. Great idea and nice apps! I wish more mobile retailers would have this kind of apps!
    I’ve seen so many accidents happening because people didn’t pay attention to traffic but rather to the text that they’ve just received.
    People really need to be more cautious with all the technology nowadays!

  28. There’s one flaw in the apps that use speed to trigger the on/off: using public transportation or being a passenger. It may be annoying as a passenger to turn off the mode whenever it triggers while speeding up, and for kids who use parent’s phones to do so may get an interrupted game or movie. Also, some phones have a “car mode” where a special dock is put into the car, and whenever the phone is docked, it will go into a mode where music, navigation, calling, etc. is accessible.

  29. I can’t believe I didn’t know about this sooner. Well, knew about it without knowing about it I guess. I will definitely be downloading this app to my phone. Do know how frustrating it is to try and swipe the ‘I’m driving’ option on an incoming call while I’m driving? No more of that thanks to DriveMode, thank you very much.

  30. Do we really need apps that prevent us from using the phone while driving? Can’t we just show a little self control and either pull over to the side of the road if you absolutely need to check it, or just ignore it and wait until later. It seems to me that we are introducing more and more ways to avoid having to learn self discipline.

  31. I actually caught my fiancee answering to my call while he was driving, I didn’t get to worried tho, because he really doesn’t have many friends, so not many people actually call him, that put me at ease! I should probably ask him to get one of those apps tho, just in case and for my own peace of mind.

  32. I see that you aren’t talking about Samsung’s driver mode. It is on my Galaxy Note 4, so it would be very interesting to hear all your ideas about apps that are being bundled with the phones by the developers.

  33. This is a well-meaning idea, but people who will probably use this app are not the ones who are recklessly texting and driving in the first place; they are probably the more responsible ones. Those that text while they drive won’t bother downloading the app because it will be an inconvenience for them.

Comments are closed.