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Detexting Teens

Craig Nigrelli

Detexting Teens

CREATED Feb. 5, 2013

Omaha, NE - A new app called Detext is on the market.  Parents can download it off the internet onto their kids android phone. 

Using global positioning satellite technology, it can tell when a car is moving.  Journal I-T expert Jordan Gray explained " It locks the screen. The app actually takes over the phone and won't allow you to get to the text messaging portion of the phone while the app is installed or enabled. "

Gray downloaded the app onto 17-year-old Brianna Olson's phone. We went for a drive in Omaha. Brianna's mother texted her several times and received this message back on her own phone " Hi I'm driving or in an area where mobile use isn't allowed.  I'll get back to you as soon as possible. "  When Brianna pulled over her phone told her she had messages waiting.  Her mother, Dina Kaluza said " I really like it. I think anything that really helps the kids focus on driving and not be tempted to look at their phones while they are driving, I'm all for it. "

Rob Reynolds, whose daughter died in 2007 at the hands of a distracted driver, said he likes the app but thinks the state of Nebraska must do more to make texting and driving more socially unacceptable, like drunk driving or smoking in public places.   He said " It can happen. If you would've told me ten years ago there would be no smoking in bars, I'd say you're crazy, but today we have no smoking in bars, because we made it socially unacceptable."

Reynolds wants the state to make texting and driving a primary offense. It is currently a secondary offense, meaning an Officer must pull you over for some other violation before writing a ticket for texting and driving.  We've learned there were just 89 convictions for texting and driving in the entire state of Nebraska in 2011.  Omaha police wrote 43 tickets in 2012 and 44 tickets the year before. Reynolds believes that's far too few.

Making texting and driving a primary offense is on the current legislative agenda in Lincoln. A hearing will take place next week.