This Teen Inventor May Have Just Solved The Texting And Driving Problem

Keep 'em at 10 and 2!

Before he could even put a key in the ignition, T.J. Evarts was already obsessed with texting and driving. Not, like, doing it, but preventing it.

“It kind of started when my friends were learning to drive and I was seeing some of that behavior from new, inexperienced drivers and I thought, ’there must be a solution out there,'” Evarts, 20, told MTV News. But, to his surprise, there wasn’t. So, at 14, he set out on a journey that has taken him everywhere from the White House to “Shark Tank” and, this week, at the massive Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where he’s manning the booth for his anti-texting and driving gadget: SMARTWheel.

SmartWheel

The steering wheel cover tracks whether a driver has both hands on the wheel at all times and warns you with a buzzing sound and flashing lights if you try to one- or no-hand it. Put both paws back on and light goes back to green and the buzzing stops. And, if you’re one of those sneaky types who think you can beat it by keeping both hands on the wheel realclosetogether while typing and driving? Nope.

“Five-hundred thousand people are injured every year by distracted driving and all I found were recording devices or ones that tell you how fast you were going when you hit that tree,” said Evarts. “I set out to alert drivers to a dangerous situation before it happens.” Evarts started working on SMARTWheel 6 years ago with his two sisters, but it didn’t become an all-consuming business until he was 16, when an invitation came to appear on “Shark Tank.”

SmartWheel

“My sisters and I were competing in science competitions and at some point an executive producer on ’Shark Tank’ called and that was the moment when I changed my mind set and realized it was a great tool for saving lives and making some money,” he said of his 2013 spot on the inventor incubator series.

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