T-Mobile Launches Service To Block Texting While Driving

I’m not usually one to preach, but texting while driving is really, really stupid. Yes, steering a 3,000+ pound metal missile while staring down at a tiny screen to blast out short, generally forgettable sentences is stupid. Anyone who says they’re “good at it” or that they “have a technique” just hasn’t screwed up yet. No one expects to get into an accident.

With that said, high-fives to T-Mobile for introducing a service aimed at ending texting-while-driving (at least amongst teens with watchful parents.)

Here’s how it works: When the “DriveSmart Plus” application calculates that your handset is moving at “car-like speeds”, it shifts the phone into “Driver Mode”. Once in Driver Mode, all calls will be forwarded to any attached Bluetooth devices, while all texts will be temporarily intercepted and responded to with a pre-set “I’m driving!” message. In case of an emergency (or in case the phone being shifted into “Driver Mode” is actually that of a passenger), there’s an option to override the limitations — but do that, and it’ll fire off an e-mail to your parental units (or whoever originally set up DriveSmart) letting them know.

Alas, the service isn’t without its catches: it’ll set you back $4.99 a month (Really, T-Mobile? This isn’t one of those things you could just offer for free?) and it currently only works with the Optimus T. Also, having been a teen but a few years ago (during the initial “Net Nanny” computer monitoring craze, no less), it’ll take all of 5 minutes before some teen figures out how to disable this quietly, posts it on a forum, and teens everywhere go back to texting all their friends about the latest episode of Gossip Girl whilst driving into oncoming traffic.