HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Distracted driving is a deadly epidemic on our roadways, but what if for every minute behind the wheel while not using your phone you received a reward?
How about free Chick-fil-A? Or a free Rooftop Cinema Club movie? A rapid reward system new to the Houston area could help make our roads a little safer.
ABC13 rode along with the CEO of SAFE 2 SAVE, Marci Corry. She introduced ABC13 traffic anchor Elissa Rivas to the app designed to persuade you to put your phone down while driving. For every minute you drive more than 10 miles per hour without touching your phone, you're earning points you can use to receive free items from restaurants like Salata, Dairy Queen, and other businesses.
"The average person in Houston is going to drive 293 hours a year, which equals 35,000 points," said Corry. "You can really get a lot of Chick-fil-A sandwiches."
TxDOT reports 1 in 5 crashes in our state involves distracted driving and a report from Zendrive, a company that tracks driver safety, ranks Houston as the most distracted city in the country this year.
Living in College Station, Corry knew nothing about designing apps. But the story of a young man in her community who was just 19 years old and jogging when he was hit and killed drove her to action.
"A college girl was texting and driving and instantly ended his life, and I thought -- that's not okay," Corry said.
If you do pick up your phone while driving, you'll see a photo you've provided of your own family or loved ones asking you, "Is it really worth it?"
She's even found a way to create competitions between individuals or groups to see who can stack up on safe driving points. Co-workers, high school rivals, and community groups are all challenging each other to safer driving.
The app already has 115,000 users, but the sponsorship of Memorial Hermann Life Flight should launch it into wider use in the Houston area.
"We see fatalities due to distracted driving and that's something that can be so easily fixed," said Tom Flanagan, Vice President at Memorial Hermann Health System. He leads the Life Flight program and says the mission of the SAFE 2 SAVE app is a perfect match for the work of the Life Flight medical teams.
"Part of being a trauma center is looking at what you can do for prevention and education to the communities in which you serve," said Flanagan. "If we can save one person from a fatal crash or crash that injures people, then we've met the goal, and our goal really is to save lots of lives."
If you're interested in the SAFE 2 SAVE app, it's free to download. If you use the event promo code "ABC" when you download the app, you'll have an initial 800 points!
Do you hate Houston traffic as much as we do? Join the club!
SAFE 2 SAVE: Earn freebies for safe driving with new app
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