Since 2010, April has been National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which was introduced as part of the government’s efforts to educate the public about the consequences of texting and driving and curb this risky driving behavior. A couple of weeks ago, the NHTSA launched a nationwide campaign against distracted driving, with a pair of videos that showcase how dangerous it is to be sending or reading text messages behind the wheel, which are specifically targeted at young drivers, who are very susceptible to distracted driving. In addition to the NHTSA, there are numerous companies that are supporting Distracted Driving Awareness Month and are trying to help reduce distracted driving.

One of those companies is AT&T, the telecommunications giant, which has been committed to this cause for a few years now. In 2009, they launched the “It Can Wait” campaign that informs drivers of the risks involved in texting and driving and encourages them to make a commitment to never text and drive. Now, as part of this ongoing campaign, and in support of the NHTSA initiative against distracted driving, AT&T is introducing a mobile app that can prevent texting while driving.

The app is called DriveMode, and it’s available for Android and BlackBerry. When you enable it, the app sends a customizable auto-reply message to incoming texts or phone calls, informing the person who is texting you that you are driving at the moment and you can’t reply at the moment. When the app is enabled, it makes notifications for incoming texts silent, and if you receive a phone call, it is sent to voicemail. Additionally, its main screen blocks access to your phone, so you can’t compose text messages. However, the app allows you to make 911 calls, and make and receive calls to and from several numbers that you have put on the Allow List. You can choose up to 5 numbers from your phone contacts for your Allow List.

There is also an Auto-Mode option, that when enabled, turns the app on automatically when it detects that the vehicle has reached 25 mph. If the vehicle is moving at less than 25 mph for at least five minutes, DriveMode will turn off.

Furthermore, the app includes parental alerts, which inform parents when DriveMode or when the phone GPS feature is turned off, by sending them a text message. This will be of great help for parents, as it will assure them that their children are not using their cell phones while driving and are paying attention to the road. The app can be downloaded for free through Google Play and BlackBerry App World.