We all know that using a phone while driving is dangerous — the National Safety Council estimates there have been over 800,000 crashes in the US involving drivers using cell phones and texting so far this year. As one seller of the products and services at the center of the issue, AT&T has a responsibility to educate customers about safe driving habits, and its “It Can Wait” information campaign is part of that effort. Today we’re learning about another part — AT&T is developing software parents can use to remotely turn off voice and text transmission on their children’s cell phones while driving; revealed in a video (below) for its nationwide “never text and drive” pledge campaign.

Parents get a summary of dangerous driving behaviors

The video shows an AT&T marketing manager demonstrating how an iPad app could be used to remotely block calls, messaging, and internet access on a child’s device. It also shows how the app can be used to set up email alerts for excessive speeding, or to let you know when your child is trying to initiate a call or text message. And a “Safety Violation Summary” screen gives an overview of the dangerous driving behaviors recorded, like harsh acceleration or taking turns too quickly. The video mentions that the same tools could be used to prevent professional drivers from texting while driving as well. This isn’t to be confused with Drive Mode, an existing AT&T app for Android and BlackBerry that lets drivers block incoming calls and messages, although AT&T says the two complement one another.

The unnamed iPad app looks very promising, but so far there has been no official announcement from AT&T, and it’s not clear when and on which platforms the company plans to release it. For the US’s second-largest carrier, getting the app out of its labs and into use will show just how committed it is to driver safety.