Baton Rouge company looks to end distracted driving

Baton Rouge company looks to end distracted driving

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - We've all been there, behind the wheel driving down the road and using a cell phone. In fact, studies show 20 percent of teenage drivers will hold ongoing text conversations while driving. For parents, it's 10 percent.

It's a dangerous habit. The government reports thousands of people die each year due to distracted driving, but it's also a habit that's hard to break.

However, a Baton Rouge based business may have a truly effective solution.

"I use it in my car. I will confess I hated it probably for the first few weeks that I was using it. But, what I love about it is it has trained me to get my business done in the driveway or in a parking lot before I get moving," said Jesse Hoggard, VP of Marketing for Cellcontrol.

Hoggard is talking about a black box, not much bigger than a deck of cards, that attaches to your windshield right below the rear view mirror.  It's called Drive ID and it was developed by Baton Rouge based Cellcontrol.

The box works with an app, which together block any mobile distractions while a car is in motion.  Once a car moves, the app locks the phone and will unlock after it senses the car has stopped. If someone tries to call or text you, they will receive a text message explaining that you are driving and will call back soon.

Hoggard said the device is extremely popular with concerned parents. The company's CEO was inspired to develop something to prevent distracted drivers after watching his own son walk into a wall while texting.

"We've had parents who have said, 'thank you, you've given me peace of mind. I know my kid is protected,'" said Hoggard.

However, that's not all the device does. The sensors inside the Drive ID box actually grade your driving by monitoring speed and braking. After each trip, the app will let you know how you did and how you can improve your score.

Hoggard said companies have used Cellcontrol to cut accidents among their fleets by 50 to 80 percent in some cases In turn, that has led to better insurance rates.

The device itself is $129 and available online. Once purchased, the owner can customize their program to allow certain apps, like music or maps, and certain contacts. Hoggard said 911 is always accessible, and users can still make calls using hands free options if available.

If a user tries to tamper with the box or even delete the app, an administrator or parent receives an alert. Hoggard explained they have a whole team of engineers who work to find the weak spots in security.

"We try to think like 17 year olds," said Hoggard.

However, Hoggard said that in the end their main goal is to help save lives.

Copyright 2015 WAFB. All rights reserved.