MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Her words come from the heart, a broken heart.READ MORE: Man Held Without Bond In Killing Of Baby, Babysitter In Coral Springs
“I hope you remember Connor’s story every time you get in your car and make the right choice,” Michele Johnson told the senior class at Bishop Canevin High School.
Johnson’s son was killed while riding in a car that ran off Interstate 79 and into a fixed light pole.
The driver was distracted at the time. Now, Michele dedicates her time trying to help young people make the right choices and stay alive.
Recent numbers from the National Highway Safety Council indicate we lose about one teenage life an hour in this country to texting and driving, and the numbers are rising.
Teenage drivers and adults alike admit they can’t resist looking at the cell phone when it beeps, buzzes, or signals an incoming text or call.
That’s where DriveAlertNow comes in.
Designed by Cellcontrol, once it’s installed in your car and the associated app is downloaded to your child’s smartphone, a Bluetooth connection to the device signals when the car is moving and the phone is disabled.
Two families installed the device in the cars and their teenagers drove to give it a try.
“It was weird at first because I kept forgetting I had it,” said Paige Malovich. “So, I’d reach for my cell phone and it would come up on the screen, ‘Please do not use your cell phone while driving.’”
Paige was worried she would miss out on something with her friends. After just a week of the device blocking her messages and calls while she drives, she says, “I didn’t miss anything. I was completely fine.”READ MORE: Report: South Florida Counties Have High COVID Levels, Despite CDC Numbers
Dave Malovich hopes leaving the device in Paige’s car will help.
“Adjust her behavior so that she does not even think about having the phone on when she is in the car and just focuses on driving,” he said.
Not only did the device in Brian Venturella’s car block the calls and texts, the Venturellas – like the Malovichs – found the reporting capability of the device very valuable.
Jim Venturella showed how an email from the app reported Brian’s latest trip including, one mild event, a driving score of 84, and that he was on his phone for 8 seconds while stopped.
Brian’s mom, Lora, said the information, “is a good conversation starter to talk about their driving habits.”
“[It was] definitely eye-opening,” Brian said.
He went on to say having DriveAlertNow neutralizing the phone means, “you know you’re not going to be tempted by it.”
While both families found installation fairly easy, getting the phone and device to pair was tricky. In both cases, product support had to assist in getting it to work correctly.
The unit you install in the car costs $150, and there’s a $14 monthly fee.
“Once he leaves the house and he’s in the car, you can’t control it. This gives you a little information and maybe you can influence what he’s doing a little and keep him safer,” Jim Venturella said.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Testing Site Finder
“To know that that distraction is taken away is one less worry,” Lora Venturella said.