An upcoming smartphone app from the Iowa Department of Transportation called TXTL8R (shorthand for “text later”) could help discourage teenage drivers from texting while driving, the Des Moines Register reports.
TXTL8R is currently in the ideas phase, as the DoT is still searching for a firm to create the app for release in 2014. But the concept is to tap into a phone’s GPS to determine when its owner is traveling at more than 15 miles per hour, triggering the app to disable the phone’s texting function. Because it’s being designed for young drivers, TXTL8R would also provide parents with a desktop portal through which they’d be able to monitor some of their teen’s driving behaviors, as well as detect when teens uninstalled the app.
Distracted driving–which includes activities such as texting, talking on the phone, and eating–was responsible for 3,331 fatal car crashes in 2011. Among those who text behind the wheel, young drivers under the age of 20 are the most likely to be in a fatal crash due to distracted driving.
Texting while driving is currently banned for all U.S. drivers in Washington, D.C., and 41 states.