TEXT L8R: New Teen Driving App

The state is developing a new app for young drivers.  It’s designed to keep teen driver’s eyes off their smart phones and on the road.

“I’m not so worried when I’m in the car, but later when he gets his license and I’m not in the car, I will be more worried,” says Cindy Kreklau.

Her 14-year-old son just got his permit Wednesday.

“It’s an exciting thing for me, and I’m a little nervous because I don’t want to wreck my mom’s car,” says new driver Rob Kreklau.

A new app called Text L8R could ease parents’ concerns.  Once the program is downloaded, it prevents anyone from sending or receiving text messages.

“The phone, when it gets to a driving speed of 15 miles an hour or faster, is going to lock out the text messages.  It’s also going to track what their driving performance was at that time,” says Mark Lowe, Iowa DOT Director of Motor Vehicle Services.

The app will also track how their kids are driving.

“It will tell them if they were speeding, it will tell them if they missed a stop sign, it will tell them if they had excessive deceleration or hard turns, that type of thing,” says Lowe.

“I don’t know, that seems like invasion of privacy,” says teen driver Austin Nelsen.

“I wouldn’t mind.  I think that would be really good,” says 16-year-old Kathleen Davis.

The DOT is planning to provide the service free of charge to drivers 14 to 17 years old.

“We definitely want that app,” says Kreklau.

The new app will cost the state around $100,000 and should be ready by next February.  While it is targeting young drivers, anyone can download the program.

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