Drive Back To School Safely With New Mobile App Designed To Curb Texting Behind The Wheel

Free for Customers, AT&T DriveMode App Extends Company's Commitment to Anti-Texting-While-Driving Education

Dallas, Texas, August 30, 2011
newsrelease


New drivers are getting behind the wheel to head back to school, and because the average teen sends and receives five times more text messages a day than a typical adult1, AT&T* today announced a simple – and free – way to lessen the temptation to text while driving.

The company launched its AT&T DriveMode mobile application (www.att.com/drivemode), which, when downloaded and activated, automatically sends a customizable reply to incoming texts – notifying the sender that the user is driving and unable to respond. The auto-response is similar to an “out-of-office” email alert.

AT&T’s anti-texting-while-driving mobile solution is part of the company’s broader “It Can Wait” campaign that aims to stigmatize texting while driving. Starting today, the app is available for free through the AT&T AppCenter and BlackBerry App World™ stores, with more supporting operating systems planned in the coming months.**

“AT&T's new mobile application has the potential to prevent injuries and save lives by changing the behavior of a generation," said Sandra Spavone, executive director, National Organizations for Youth Safety. “This proactive and innovative move by AT&T showcases their commitment to social responsibility to prevent crashes resulting from texting and driving before they happen. Making the choice to use this product could be one of the most important decisions drivers make.”

Once downloaded, customers can manually enable the app prior to driving, activating the text auto-reply feature. The app also allows disabling of emails, incoming and outgoing calls and Web browsing. When the app is turned off, user can view the calls, messages and emails as they normally would.

“As a leading service provider, we want to educate and equip wireless customers with the tools they need to stay safe on the road,” said Charlene Lake, chief sustainability officer and senior vice president of AT&T Public Affairs. “That’s why we’re proud to introduce AT&T DriveMode as the next wave of our ’It Can Wait’ campaign. We’re hoping to reach new and experienced drivers alike to generate a change in behavior and underscore our message that when it comes to texting and driving, it can – and should – wait.”

AT&T DriveMode also offers additional safety and convenience features, including:

  • The “Allow List” lets users select up to five contact numbers – such as roadside assistance and family members – to send and receive calls while the app is running.
  • 911 is an automatically approved number and easily dialable from the home screen.
  • Music and Navigation settings allow one music and one navigation app to run while AT&T DriveMode is enabled.

By downloading the app, customers are also automatically taking AT&T’s “Txtng & Drivng…It Can Wait” pledge, joining more than 63,000 others who have made the commitment to not text while driving.

The AT&T DriveMode app stemmed from an idea that was originally submitted to The Innovation Pipeline (TIP), AT&T’s unique online crowd-sourcing tool that harnesses the creative talent of AT&T employees. Participants submit their ideas through an online platform, get feedback from others and secure funding for development of the program. AT&T DriveMode was voted one of the top ideas and was subsequently developed into today’s application.

In May, AT&T announced a four-year series of contributions totaling $1 million to continue its education on the importance of not texting behind the wheel. The National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) – a collaborative network of national associations and federal agencies that focus on youth safety and health –  was the first recipient of a $95,000 contribution.

As part of that contribution, AT&T and NOYS will assemble and educate a group of 40 student ambassadors on the dangers of texting and driving. This October, they will gather at the first-ever national texting-while-driving prevention youth summit in Washington, D.C. and will host similar summits within their schools and hometowns throughout the school year.

Since launching the “It Can Wait” campaign, AT&T has revised its wireless and motor vehicle policies to prohibit texting and driving; incorporated a don’t-text-and-drive message on the protective clings for devices sold in AT&T retail stores; integrated campaign messaging in AT&T catalogs, signage, bills, emails and newsletters and at AT&T-sponsored events; designed a pledge for its Facebook and employee pages; and more.

In late 2010, AT&T introduced a 10-minute documentary “The Last Text” – which features real stories of individuals whose lives have been drastically altered by texting and driving. It has garnered nearly 2.5 million views on YouTube, and has been screened in thousands of schools and drivers’ education classes, and among state police agencies, public health organizations, military personnel, government and safety organizations, and many more.

For more information on AT&T’s “Txtng & Drivng…It Can Wait” campaign, please visit: www.att.com/txtingcanwait.

1Pew Internet & American Life Project - http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Cell-Phones-and-American-Adults/Part-4-A-comparison-of-cell-phone-attitudes--use-between-teens-and-adults/Teens-are-bigger-users-of-text-messaging-than-adults.aspx  

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

** Data and text messaging charges may apply for download and app usage. Standard messaging rates apply to auto-reply messages. AT&T DriveMode is free to AT&T customers only. Compatible device required.

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