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Cell phone companies create apps to prevent distracted driving

In the ongoing fight against distracted driving, there is a new weapon. With the release of a few new applications, the very smartphones that were previously responsible for so many distracted driving-related car accidents may now actually prevent drivers from talking and texting behind the wheel. Although such applications, or apps, are still in their early stages, law enforcement officials in New Jersey and throughout the country are hopeful that they will remove the temptation to use a cell phone while driving.

The new apps were recently announced by cellular carriers Sprint and AT&T. Currently available for Sprint Android and AT&T Blackberry phones, the primary function of the apps is to disable texting and incoming telephone calls while the vehicle is in motion.

The apps vary somewhat: Sprint's app automatically goes into effect when the phone is in a car that is traveling faster than 10 miles per hour, while the AT&T app must be activated by its user. For both, the user can designate five telephone numbers that can get through the block, and all phones can dial 911. In addition, one music and one navigation system will work while the app is in driving mode.

The companies hope to expand the app's functionality for other devices in the near future. Verizon Wireless does not currently have a distracted driving app, but a spokesperson says that the company is working to create one.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation.

Source: WANE, "App takes temptation out of texting while driving," Sept. 16, 2011

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