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According to a 2010 estimate by The National Safety Council, distracted drivers using cell phones and texting cause at least 1.6 million crashes each year.

Credit: Alec Druggan

After a near-death experience with a distracted driver, 2012 Wharton MBA graduate Ryan Frankel built an app that aims to reduce cell phone distractions while driving.

The app — “This App Saves Lives” — offers rewards for safe driving in the Philadelphia region that can be redeemed at popular restaurants.

The app aims to stop drivers from using their cellphones, PhillyMag reported. When the user begins traveling at or above 7 mph the app switches into a “tracking mode.” Once in tracking mode, the app is able to detect whether or not the driver is using their phone for anything except music streaming, navigation, or a hands-free call. 

For every minute the user drives without breaking any rules, they’ll earn one in-app point, but for every rule broken, they’ll have points deducted. The user can then use these points to redeem discounts and promotions with several brands, including Shake Shack, DiBruno’s, Little Baby’s Ice Cream, and 4th Street Cookies.

The app will be available to iPhone users next week and will operate only in the Philadelphia region for now.

According to a 2010 estimate by The National Safety Council, distracted drivers using cell phones and texting cause at least 1.6 million crashes each year. 

“It’s sort of like a win-win situation. We can create a community of safe drivers that benefits drivers and pedestrians and everyone in between, as well as the brands…[which] get to champion their commitment to public safety but also try out this very innovative way to bring new foot traffic to the stores,” Frankel told PhillyMag.

This App Saves Lives also acknowledges the role of cell phones in distracting school-aged drivers. Nate Wagner, the co-founder of the app, is a teacher at Haverford Middle School, and has helped to secure the cooperation of more than 70 schools in the Greater Philadelphia Area to participate in the app. The schools endorse rewards like dunking the principal in a swimming pool if all students earn a certain collective number of safe driving points.

Frank and Wagner launched an IndieGoGo campaign for the app, since it currently relies largely on public funds and support. They told PhillyMag they are hoping to raise more than $20,000 by the end of the year and offer various awards to those who choose to become a donor.

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