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Cell phone apps take aim at distracted driving

When it comes to distracted driving, many consider text messaging while at the wheel extremely dangerous, and rightfully so. This practice takes a driver's eyes off the road, and it has been attributed as the cause for countless fatal car accidents in Maryland and around the United States.

Now, companies that produce the potentially distracting gadgets are introducing software that could possibly take a bite out of this epidemic.

Some cell phone companies now offer new downloadable applications that will disable text messaging and incoming calls when the phone is in a moving car. Once the phone senses a certain speed, it deactivates these features.

The applications work on Sprint Android phones and AT&T Blackberries.

Apps for both companies disable text messaging and incoming phone calls while driving. Drivers are also never blocked from being able to call 911 in an emergency.

The companies hope that because drivers are not receiving text messages or phone calls, they will be less prone to taking their eyes off the road and shifting their attention to their phones.

The feature needs to be turned on in the AT&T app, which is free, while Sprint's app automatically activates when in a car traveling faster than 10 mph. Sprint's app costs $2 per month.

AT&T and Sprint also designed a feature to stop kids from disabling the feature by automatically alerting parents when they attempt to do so. Both companies are working to bring the same technological solution to the problem of distracted driving to a wider range of cell phones.

Source: WANE.com, "App takes temptation out of texting while driving," Sept. 17, 2011

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