Posted on Jan 03, 2013

Distracted driving in New Jersey (usually caused by talking or texting on a cell phone) is an ongoing problem in New Jersey, and a newer, stricter penalty for it was signed into law last summer. But an 11-year-old girl recently came up with a clever way to discourage the activity: she helped to create a smartphone app to discourage the activity!

Young Victoria Walker won a $20,000 award from AT&T by collaborating with designer David Grau to create an app called Rode Dog. It works by encouraging friends (who also have the app on their phones) to join one another in a “pack.” They then act as monitors for one another, so if users log on and realize that their friend is texting while driving, they can send a loud barking sound to that friend. The sound will not stop until the phone is put away.

The duo hope to have the app up and running on the app storefronts for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, and have said that they will use the prize money enhancing the app. This is not the first or only option for preventing texting while driving. However, others all rely on the phone’s built-in GPS or satellite location to determine if users are traveling at a speed greater than the defined setting. Most of these options, however, are designed for parents to monitor usage by their children

Although not the first, it will hopefully not be the last. There will likely be a much bigger focus on app development and services geared toward users who want to police themselves or their friends.

Distracted driving carries serious penalties, especially if someone is injured or killed as a result. If you are a parent with a child old enough to drive, you should look into apps like that for their smartphones.

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