Local teen inspired by friends’ deaths to create app to fight distracted driving

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HANOVER, Pa.-- We're all probably guilty of it. You pull up to a red light, you hear your phone, and check to see the notification.

"After the football game there is at least one person that always gets into a wreck right after the football game," New Oxford High School student Michael Ryan Jr. said. "They're on their phone every time."

Ryan Jr. said he lost two friends, when five New Oxford students were killed in a crash in 2011. He said he decided to create an app to help end distracted driving.

"I want to keep their memory going and saving other people's lives," Ryan Jr. said.

The distracted driving app, abbreviated DAVE, is now available in the Google Play store for Android devices.

"If the parent downloads it, hopefully they will think this is a good thing to do," Ryan Jr. said. "Maybe I should do this so in the future I can actually do the right things."

Here's how it works, when you open the app it will ask for a password, then you will be given the option to disable calls, message, and notifications from apps of your choosing. The app allows you to make and receive calls from three emergency contacts in addition to 911.

The app took about 6 months to create. Ryan Jr. reached a point where he needed help and a company in India helped him finish the app. All said, it cost about $10k to create the app.

"He took his money from his first car that he was going to buy," Ryan Jr.'s father Michael Ryan Sr. said. "He used it to buy software."

Ryan Sr. and his wife also gave some financial support to their sons cause. That app is free in the app store.

"If you have an Android device, iPhone version in July download it," Ryan Sr. said. "You can't put a price on life."

Businesses in the Hanover community praise the app.

"This app is a good tool," Rick Martz of Hickory Falls Family Entertainment said.

Other businesses such as the Kelly McKee All State agency are going to push for the app to be used in their driving classes.

The app is expected to have an update coming in July. It will work with the Bluetooth in a vehicle to automatically lock incoming messages, calls, and notifications, once the car goes over a certain speed.