BOCA RATON (CBS4) – Teen singing sensation Justin Bieber wants South Florida teens and teens across the country, to stay safe behind the wheel so he is putting his star power to work to keep teens from texting and driving.
Bieber is partnering with Boca Raton based Options Media Group to promote its Phoneguard software. Right now the “Drive Safe” app is free and it’s designed to stop teens from texting and driving.
“We want to make a difference we want to help the parents of children in America to have a more responsible texting experience,” said Keith St. Clair, chairman of Options Media Group.
The app locks texting, emailing and keyboard functions on mobile phones while a vehicle is moving faster than 10 miles an hour.
In return, for his promotion, Bieber will get shares of in the company.
A spokesman for Bieber said the artist has been approached to endorse many different products but chose PhoneGuard because he believes in the message. The app was released this week.
“This is a cause that’s really important to me, and I know affects a lot of my fans,” Justin Bieber said. “That’s why I decided to work with PhoneGuard, because we share the same vision and goal. It’s simple: text responsibly.”
An upgraded version of DriveSafe to be released later this summer will cost $29.99 annually. A dollar from every sale will go to the Remember Alex Brown Foundation, created in memory of a Texas teen killed while texting and driving.
According to the Department of Transportation, those who text message while driving are 23-percent more likely to get into an accident, and more than 1,000 deaths result from texting and driving each year. Additionally, distracted driving causes more than 600,000 accidents and 448,000 injuries a year, making responsible texting imperative for drivers today.
Every driver that downloads the free DriveSafe application is entered into a sweepstakes to win a Justin Bieber-signed jacket from his concert tour.
The DriveSafe application is available for Blackberry and Android smart phones. The company is also submitting the app to Apple later this week, so it could soon be available for the iPhone.
In addition to locking the phone’s keyboard, email and texting functions, the app also includes an auto-reply button which sends a pre-set response automatically delivered to the texter or caller which reads, “I am driving and will contact you when I reach my destination.”