The driver of this pickup truck was texting his girlfriend when he ran into the rear of this school bus. The crash photo was used for an Ohio Highway Patrol campaign against distracted driving. Contributed.

Phone carrier to launch service that keeps drivers from texting

A new service debuts Monday that aims squarely at the problem of distracted driving.

Ready Mobile, a mobile phone provider, will offer a wireless plan called “Groove.” Groove pauses text messaging (SMS), data and other phone distractions before they reach a driver’s phone.

The idea is that phone calls go through, but not texts, emails or social media posts or updates. The device is basically a small box that plugs into nearly any modern vehicle.

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The device allows access to music and navigation, but other messages are not sent until a vehicle’s engine is turned off.

“This is the first time that any wireless carrier is taking on the problem of distracted driving head on,” a spokeswoman for the company said in an email.

A recent series of stories from this news outlet explored the problem of distracted driving, talking to experts, researchers and advocates about the problem.

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In Ohio, the number of accidents involving distracted driving have increased in the past two years. In 2016, there were 13,999 wrecks involving distracted driving compared to 13,271 in 2015.

“One of the lasting effects of this is, the emotional security blanket that we all have, by telling ourselves that something bad won’t happen to us — all that is taken away,” said Sharon Montgomery, whose husband John died in 2000 six weeks after a collision involving a distracted driver in Johnstown, Ohio.

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Customers of Ready Mobile will be able to purchase wireless plans that include Groove at $30 a month for a mobile phone subscription.

You can get more information here.