As you drive down Texas roads, you may notice a number of drivers staring at their smartphones. Mobile devices can distract drivers’ attention, putting you at risk of a car accident.

To prevent crashes from distracted driving, a mobile application created in Texas rewards people for staying off their phone. And a new study from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute finds that the app may help reduce distracted driving in teenagers.

Distracted driving has deadly consequences

As smartphones offer more ways to distract people, safety on the roads goes down. Between text messages, social media and music players, drivers can find their attention drifting from the highway to their phone screen. And the statistics show that distraction can increase the danger of driving.

For example, distraction causes one out of every five crashes, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 3,166 people lost their lives to distracted driving in 2017. The makers of the app hope to reduce those numbers with a new way to fight phone use while driving.

Rewarding safe driving

The app, called Safe 2 Save, gives out coupons and rewards when drivers don’t use their smartphone behind the wheel. By using the phone as a tool, the app is a new way to fight distracted driving. And in a study of Texas teens, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute found that phone use among teenagers went down 21% with the app.

Taking a new approach to fight distracted driving

Smartphone technology continually improves. And as drivers have more reasons to look at their phones, distraction increases. Lawmakers have tried to fight phone use while driving with laws that punish the behavior.

But the creators of Safe 2 Save have tried a different approach. By using an app, they target phones, which can be a primary cause of distracted driving. And they focus on rewarding drivers who make Texas roads safer instead of punishing them.

While the app is still not a solution, the makers hope it will lower the deadly statistics of distracted driving.