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Anti-texting apps gaining popularity as kids go back to school

4:28 PM, Aug 24, 2011   |    comments
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Teenage drivers are the most likely to get into a distracted driving crash, but even though technology has made it easier for kids to make big mistakes behind the wheel, technology has also found a way to block texts and cell phone calls while they are on the road.

"Hi guys. Do you want to take our pledge not to use your cell phone while you drive?" Denver Police Officer Dan McNulty asked students at North High School.

McNulty and several other officers are going around to Denver high schools during the first full week of school to ask teens to sign the 9NEWS Great Hang Up pledge to stop distracted driving.

"I think if we get the kids at this age and we get the mindset that it's not a good thing to do, we're way ahead of the game," McNulty said.

Police also visited Lincoln High School.

"A lot of students are texting and driving at the same time, especially on Federal. It's a pretty packed street and you can possibly hit someone, and that's not a good thing," Lincoln senior Derek Esquibel said.

Jeanne Brown knows a thing or two about the consequences of distracted driving.

Her 17-year-old daughter was texting on the way to school, ran off the road, rolled her truck and was killed.

"Alex paid so much attention to this that it cost her, her life. After the wreck, she was in and out of consciousness, just trying to hang on and survive, but the phone still worked," Brown said.

So many young lives are being lost, now young celebrities are beginning to weigh-in on the movement.

"We've all be tempted to text and drive," pop singer Justin Bieber said during a commercial for Phone Guard.

Bieber is plugging one of the many free phone applications out on the market that can help parents control their kids driving habits.

"Phone Guard is the best app to help you not text and drive. It can save lives," Bieber said in the commercial.

NBC News recently put the Phone Guard cell phone application to the test.

The app's developer showed NBC what happens when a phone with the app is inside of a car going more than 10 mph.

"Right now, it's pulling it through the GPS to see how fast we're going," Phone Guard's Scott Frohman said.

The app automatically locks up texts, emails, Facebook and Twitter updates.

Other apps, like txtBlocker also have options that allow parents to set up "no cell phone zones." The app will send parents alerts if the application on the phone is disabled.

As Jeanne Brown and other mothers travel the country to share stories of how distracted driving killed their children, DPD is trying to get the anti-distracted driving message out to local teens before the next crash.

DPD will draw one pledge from the hundreds that are signed each week, and the winner will get lunch for four from Qdoba Mexican Grill.

If you would like to take the 9NEWS Great Hang Up pledge to help stop distracted driving, download the pledge form.

If you have a story about distracted driving you would like to share with us, or if your company or office has decided to sign the pledge as a team, email 9NEWS Anchor/Reporter Eric Kahnert at eric.kahnert@9news.com.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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