WAMU 88.5 : News

New Device Developed To Curb Texting While Driving

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A tech company is pushing a new product as a way to stop young drivers from using their cell phones when they're supposed to be paying attention to the road.

Amanda Kloehr says she is one of the lucky ones — lucky she is still breathing at all.

"I have 36 plates and 48 screws on the right side of my face," Kloehr says. "My right eye is a prosthetic, my ankle was snapped, and I had to learn how to re-walk."

And when during a news conference she showed photos of what she looked like after a 2008 car crash that nearly killed her, most people in the room cringed. Some started to cry. The 24-year-old woman says she was driving distracted, fiddling with her cell phone, when she slammed into the back of a truck in Virginia. 

Kloehr spoke on behalf of the tech company Origo, which is marketing a device that works like an ignition lock: you can't start your car until your phone is in the Origo docking station, and if you pull it out while driving, it emits a piercing electronic screech.

In 2010, nearly 3,100 people were killed in crashes in the U.S. involving a distracted driver, according to federal data. Origos's device sells for $279 dollars, plus another $125 to have it installed.

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