New Blackberry smartphone application to reduce texting and driving

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK -- The National Safety Council estimates more than a quarter of all traffic crashes in the U.S. each year involve drivers who are using their cell phones and text while driving, that's at least 1.6 million accidents. To help reduce that number AT&T has come out with a new smart phone application the company says will help keep drivers from texting while they're behind the wheel.

"All kinds of things that distract you take your eyes off the road are even considered to be more dangerous then probably an intoxicated driver due to not having your eyes on the road at all," OHP Trooper Jody Cornelison.

According to The Oklahoma Highway Patrol the number one cause of car accidents is inattentive driving. Trooper Jody Cornelison says he believes phones are one of the biggest distractions taking drivers eyes off the road. He says it's important to keep 100 percent focus while driving.

"Never text and drive. If you decide that you need to text take an exit, take a rest area, never sit on a shoulder," Cornelison said.

The danger created by texting and driving is what A-T-&-T says drove it to develop a new app to help keep driviers from texting. It's called "Drive Mode" and here's how it works when a driver's phone gets a text, it sends out a personal auto reply message alerting the sender that the person they're trying to reach is driving and will get back to them when they stop.

Charlie Price with Oklahoma A-T-&-T says the application can also help disable e-mail alerts, calls, and web browsing.

"Keeping people's eyes on the road while their driving is a safety issue that we're hoping to help with with this app." Price said.

Price says he believes most people understand texting while driving is dangerous, and hopes this application will be of use to them, and help shy away from bad habits.

"Anyone who thinks it would help them refrain from texting and driving we hope that they'll download it and take advantage of it," Price said.

Price says this application is only available to download on Blackberry systems now, but it will be accessible on other operating systems in upcoming months.

To learn more and find out how you can download the application visit AT&T's website at appcenter.wireless.att.com.

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