Mandan News

Distracted driving apps

The North Dakota Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association and the North Dakota Department of Transportation have announced a new Online Mobile App Resource Center for parents of teen drivers to help prevent dangerous distractions from cell phone use while driving.

NDDTSEA is the organization responsible for driver and traffic safety education for the youth of North Dakota. With support from NDDOT, the group has upgraded their website to offer information about mobile phone applications to prevent texting and driving. Different capabilities are available, but the basic premise is that the phone will not work, or will have limitations, when in a moving vehicle.

Texting while driving is the leading factor of teenage deaths in the U.S.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and texting and driving has become the number one contributor to teen deaths on the roads. A 2013 research study – released by Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York – found that texting kills more teens than drinking and driving.

“Parents of young drivers have to be worried about this,” Tom Johnson, NDDTSEA’s president said. “Young people are connected to their cell phones 24/7. But if technology is the problem, perhaps technology can also provide a solution. Mobile apps are available that remove the temptation to text while driving.”

Mobile apps to prevent texting and driving have increased in recent years. Telecommunications companies, insurance companies and software developers have all marketed products that offer various capabilities and price ranges.

“We have consolidated information about many mobile apps in one searchable online resource, so parents can see what is available and decide what works best for their family,” Johnson said. “At the very least, we hope they will find a platform to discuss distracted driving with their teen.”

• Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be in a crash.
• The average text takes the driver’s eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds.
• At 35 mph, a vehicle will travel about half the length of a football field in three seconds.
• Teens are not the only drivers who text while driving but they are the most likely.
• Teens age 14-17 send a median of 100 texts per day (Pew Research 2011).
• Distraction poses the greatest threat to teens because of their inexperience behind the wheel.

The law in North Dakota prohibits any use of a cell phone by any driver under age 18, including hands-free. The fine for texting while driving in North Dakota – for a driver of any age – is $100.

More information about mobile apps and talking to your teen about texting and driving can be found at

North Dakota is one of only seven states to receive federal grant funding for texting and driving prevention in 2013. More distraction prevention information is available at