Mobile phone app could be useful in lowering rate of texting and driving accidents, law enforcement says

08/03/2017 02:17 PM

FRANKFORT – With the number of distracted driving deaths in Kentucky rising, law enforcement officials say that a new app could be the answer in eliminating the frequency in which drivers text and drive.

LifeSaver is a free mobile software application that provides individuals, governments and businesses with the tools they need to measure and reduce cellphone-related distracted driving; which is responsible for more that 25 percent of U.S. auto collisions each year.

The mobile app discourages drivers from using Android or iPhones while driving by capturing attempted phone usage while driving and scores drivers based on their level of distracted driving behavior, which the individual or business owner can view through Lifesaver’s Driver Portal and use to improve driver behavior.

Jessamine County Sheriff Kevin Corman, president of the Kentucky Sheriff’s Association, told members of the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation on Thursday that his organization supports LifeSaver as a way to cut down on the number of distracted driving accidents.

“Most of our distracted driving accidents seem to involve texting and driving, and talking on the phone while driving,” said Corman. “I know in Jessamine County, we had 810 accidents last year, and 37 percent of them were coded as a distracted driving incident.”

Corman told legislators that the app works on the simple premise of blocking the phone from being used, while the driver is operating a vehicle.

“If the phone’s in motion, it disables the phone,” Corman said. “Typically, parents with teenage drivers will put in a password protected into the phone to where if the phone’s moving, it won’t accept phone calls, won’t make phone calls, or won’t allow texts to come in or out.”

Jim Howell, Vice President of Marketing and Sales for the LifeSaver app, says that his goal with the app is to reduce distracted driving by 50 percent in 5 years.

He suggests that parents set up the app with their own password so they will know if any attempts have been made to override the system by their kids.

“If a kid tries to override our system, it sends a text message to their parents,” Howell said. “It was designed for parents to put on their kids phones when they start driving.”

Rep. Chris Harris, D-Forest Hills, questioned Howell about passengers being able to override the app when they are not driving.

“We have a passenger bypass button on the app,” Howell said. “Anytime the phone is open, it sends a text message to the parent.”

According to the National Safety Council there are 1.6 million cell phone distracted driving crashes annually, costing 33 billion dollars in insurance claims annually.

While the basic LifeSaver app is free, there are charges for add-ons.

Click here for more information on the LifeSaver application.

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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