App Gives You Free Stuff for Not Texting While Driving

If you could earn free stuff by not using your cell phone while you're driving, would you jump at the chance? Marci Corry thinksso, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

She is the designer of an app called SAFE 2 SAVE, which is now available from San Antonio and Austin to Houston. She says you download it onto your phone, and it can tell when you pick up your phone while your car is moving.

"If you don't touch your phone you get two points for each minute, and with those points you can use them for free food and other neat deals," she said of the app, which is now sponsored in metro San Antonio by University Health System.

She says there is a highway crash every 58 second in Texas, and one in five are due to distracted driving, mainly people talking, writing e-mail, or texting while driving. She says distracted driving accidents are now recognized by the Centers for Disease Control as the number one preventable cause of death for Americans under the age of 55.

She says the app allows you to listen to music, talk hands-free, or use the GPS on your phone while you are driving, but will dock you if you pick up the phone or use it to text, or e-mail.

Corry says the prize you get are things like special sides at restaurants, upgrades, and small gifts at stores. But studies show that is what works.

"You give peopel maybe a five dollar reward every week or two, that will actually change behavior a lot more than the chance to save hundreds of dollars on your car insurance."

You start out with 750 bonus points when you download the app.

She says while everybody is eligible and stopping distracted driving will help everybody, the app is mainly aimed at people in their twenties.

"37% of people in that age group feel the pressure from their employer to respond to a text message or an e-mail while they are driving," she said.