Gadget keeps teens from texting while driving

Gadget keeps teens from texting while driving

HOMEDALE, Idaho (KBOI) -- Madi Fisher is new behind the wheel. But the 16-year-old already knows too well how careful she needs to be.

"I don't want to make the mistakes that a lot of teenagers make," Madi said, naming those, "That pick up their phones or just don't pay attention."

That's because Madi has seen what can happen when you drive distracted by a phone. She grew up with Taylor Sauer, who she considered an older sister.

Maid's mom, Tracy, knows how close the girls were.

"They were literally attached," Tracy said. "Madi was attached to her hip."

Taylor was killed in 2012 when she picked up her phone to text while driving.

Tracy Fisher says the crash was hard for Madi to cope with.

"It was extremely hard on her," Tracy said.

"It just makes me realize that stuff happens, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, because it's the worst feeling in the world," Madi told KBOI. "It definitely shows me that I'm not invincible, and anything could happen."

Madi keeps her favorite picture of Taylor in front of her steering wheel to remind herself to be careful. But she admits she still struggles with picking up her phone while she's driving.

So KBOI decided to help. The Fishers agreed to let us help install OrigoSafe in Madi's car. It's a gadget that keeps teens from using their phone while their car is in gear. Madi told us she was on-board with the decision.

"She's definitely doing this for Taylor," Tracy explained. "taylor would have loved this. Taylor would have been into this, and if this would have happened to Madi, Taylor would have done it for Madison."

A professional installed the machine in Madi's car, then a KBOI reporter met her back at her house to show her how to use it.

In order to use her car, Madi has to dock her phone in the Origosafe machine. Once the phone's in it, she can start the car.

She can drive fine as long as the phone stays in its place, but we had her drive in an empty parking lot so we could safely show her what happens if she tries to break the rules.

When she tried to take the phone out with the car in gear, a loud alarm sounded. She had to put the phone back in the dock to get the noise to stop. Then after she stopped her car, it wouldn't start again.

Because she broke the rules and pulled out her phone, she had to call and get a one-time-use code from her mom, in order to start the car again. She could get the car home by using that code, but after that her mom had to enter a reset code into the OrigoSafe device.

With the machine, Madi can't use her phone behind the wheel without an obnoxious alarm sounding and her mom finding out, but she says she knows it's for the best.

"I'm really excited about this," she said. "Anything that I can do that reminds me of Taylor makes me happy. I would do anything for her and I know she would do anything for me."

Taylor's mom, Shauna Sauer says her daughter would be happier than Madi even realizes.

"I think she'd be really proud of her," Sauer told KBOI. "She loved Madi...But I think she'd just be really touched that she'd want to do this for her, to prove that we're all trying to pay it forward and trying to make a difference."

Madi has been using her OrigoSafe device for about a month now. When KBOI checked in, her mom told us so far, she hasn't broken the no-phone rule while driving and is doing well with getting in to the habit of putting the phone away before she drives.

The OrigoSafe machine costs $274 and it costs $125 to have it installed. Once it's put in a vehicle, it can be used with multiple family phones.