New Partnership Aims to Stop Phone Use While Driving and Save Lives

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When a teenage driver gets behind the wheel, their chance of dying is five times greater than an adult driver. That's why Impact Teen Drivers and California Casualty Insurance, applauds Oprah for her efforts through her "No Phone Zone" campaign to increase awareness of the dangers of using cell phones and texting while driving.

The Ugly Truth

CHP officers consistently report the worst part of their job is coming onto a scene where a young person has needlessly lost his or her life and subsequently having to ring a doorbell to tell parents that they will never again see their child alive.

When a teenage driver gets behind the wheel, their chance of dying is five times greater than an adult driver. As the No. 1 killer of teens, car crashes are often the result of poor decision-making -- and driving distractions play a role in three out of four. That's why Impact Teen Drivers, a California-based nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives, applauds Oprah for her efforts through her "No Phone Zone" campaign to increase awareness of the dangers of using cell phones and texting while driving. To directly address teen behavior related to texting and cell phones, Impact Teen Drivers is partnering with OTTER LLC to offer its life-saving text-management app to teens and their parents and make it easy to silence cell phones while driving.

"The new OTTER app is a tool that will enable teens and parents to easily put their phone into a mode that is safe while driving, without losing the connectivity that teens crave," said Dr. Kelly Browning, Executive Director of Impact Teen Drivers.

While activated in GPS or Parental Control Mode, OTTER will silence all incoming texting and phone call ringtones while the user is in a moving vehicle, plus initiate a response telling others they are driving. This eliminates the temptation for a teen to read or respond to a text or phone call while driving, therefore removing substantial risk of death or injury that is associated with those distractions.

Through conversations and extensive feedback from teens, Impact Teen Drivers identified the need to address texting and cell phone use while driving as a crucial element in the effort to reduce driving-related deaths and injuries.

George Bowen, Executive Vice President of California Causalty, one of the founding sponsors of Impact Teen Drivers, said, "California Casualty joins Impact in supporting the use of OTTER by teens ... and will be working to make it available to California Casualty customers in the weeks to come."

Impact Teen Drivers reaches teens, parents, and teachers through their interactive curriculum, which is offered free to high schools; online through their web portals impactteendrivers.org, whatslethal.com, and createrealimpact.com; and with an extensive social media presence. Since its creation, Impact has been actively planning, developing, and delivering engaging and interactive awareness and educational materials that target teens and teach them about safe driving and the dangers of distracted and reckless driving. Since 2007, Impact has been implemented in California high schools with the support of California State Superintendent of Education Jack O'Connell, the California Teachers Association and the California PTA.

"It is imperative that we educate teens and empower them to promote the safe driving message in order to have a fundamental and sustained behavior shift. This isn't about bad kids doing bad things, but good kids making poor choices. One poor choice can alter or end their lives and the lives of those they care about," said Dr. Browning. "We recognize the importance to teens of immediate communication in today's social environment. We believe that OTTER is an affordable solution for all families and will meet teens' need for immediate communication and connectivity."

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George Bowen, Senior Vice President
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