I have big news. Save thousands of lives a year kind of news.

Here it is: it exists, right now, an easy, accessible solution to the world’s texting while driving epidemic that causes nearly 2 million car accidents a year.

And it isn’t a hefty fine or self-driving cars.

The solution is Groove by Katasi.

Its inventor, Scott Tibbitts, has all the characteristics of a person destined for greatness.  As a former space entrepreneur, Tibbits built over 3,500 devices for NASA which never once failed in the vacuum of space.

What makes him stand apart from other rocket scientists is his  ability to convey vision; he’s the kind of man whose stories make you lean in and listen. This skill is important for activists against texting and driving, whose voices have grown hoarse shouting about the dangers of distracted driving to the third of drivers who indulge in the deadly habit.

“People think it’s like reaching into a big bag of potato chips,” says Scott Tibbitts, pantomiming his hand reaching into a bag. “Just one won’t hurt me.’ But soon you’ve devoured the whole bag.”

And, according to Tibbitts, it’s extremely difficult for police to enforces rules against texting and driving.

“The driver can say ‘I was navigating’ or ‘I was on Spotify,’” says Tibbitts. “And stiff legislation hasn’t moved the needle much.”

As tragic stories of text-related driving deaths build up, lawmakers and parents seek a solution. Of course, other technologies aimed at preventing texting and driving have been on the market for years, but none seem to popularize or create lasting change.

How it Works

This is where Groove by Katasi comes in. The device is unassuming enough; it’s a black and square gadget that plugs into the car and syncs with any phone. Once the driver begins their journey, Groove disables texts, calls, and other distractions and stores them on a cloud.

The driver can access their messages once they arrive at their destination. Alive.

What makes Groove stand apart from other methods of text-free driving is its simplicity. Groove doesn’t require the driver to download an app, it can sync with any phone, and, (here’s the kicker), works directly with your phone carrier to stop texting and driving.

“Our motto is, ‘keep it simple, keep it easy,’” says Michelle Beard, Katasi’s business manager. “At the end of the day, it’s about saving lives.”

This life-saving gadget can’t get on the market soon enough.

Making Safe Driving Rewarding

Teen drivers are some of the biggest perpetrators of texting and driving. And with 11 teens dying every day from texting and driving car accidents, it’s quickly becoming one of the biggest epidemics of the Twenty-first century.

Tibbitts thinks teens want to be good drivers, but just can’t resist the temptation of the text.

“Teens are much less entitled to texting and driving than you think,” says Tibbitts. “They know it’s dangerous.”

So how does Groove eliminate the temptation to text and make safe driving desirable to teens?

Tibbitts has an idea.

“Have Groove reward teens for safe driving with things of high intrinsic value,” says Tibbitts. “Chipotle, Starbucks, or the Pay It Forward App.”

If Groove partners with companies that teens covet, it could reward teens for their text free driving through an app called Groove Games. For example, a month of text-free driving rewards teens with two free burritos at Chipotle. Enough to incentive teens and not make text-free driving feel like a punishment.

The gaming feature of the app also lets the driver compete with their family and friends with safe driving points. The app creates a brick wall on your phone to prevent the user from accessing Facebook, Snapchat, or texts. The user can still touch their screen to read their messages or browse the internet while driving, but the app records every lapse in self-control. Then you start to lose points.

With Groove, every safe trip leads you one step further to a free burrito. How cool is that?

Coming Soon to Cars Everywhere

Most recently, Katasi is in the works with Sprint to get Groove into cars and on the road. The company really has a shot to make a difference and save lives.

“There are forces at play here that shows [Groove] needs to be,” says Tibbitts. “And when you are inspired by some great purpose,” he says, now quoting Patanjali, the Indian sage that wrote the Yoga Sutra, “some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: your mind transcends limitation.”

And, for the fate of drivers, let’s hope everyone is apt to join the Groovement.

Katy Caballeros moved to Boulder from Grand Rapids, MI. She studied English and writing at Aquinas College and pursued a liberal arts career path gone crooked, occupying jobs ranging from telemarketer to kindergarten phonics tutor. Passionate about local advocacy, Katy admires Boulder’s proclivity towards progress, scholarship, and environmentalism. When she isn’t writing or listening to KUNC, Katy likes to explore local cafes and bookstores with her partner, Em. Passionate about motivating young people, Katy is an assistant coach for the Boulder High School cheerleading team (Go Panthers!). Grateful to be welcomed into the Boulder community, Katy wants to give back by informing Boulderites about the best places to play and visit in their community.