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Roanoke company creates device to combat texting while driving

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ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- A Virginia company is launching a new product across the nation aimed at preventing texting while driving, a growing deadly national epidemic.

ORIGOSafe, an ignition interlock-type docking station, makes sure a driver's cellphone is safely docked or the vehicle will not start.

WDBJ reports Clay Skelton, the founder of ORIGO, has been driving with the device for the past nine months.

"I happen to be an authorized user of this car, so I put the phone in and it authenticates the phone and I start the car," Skelton said. [RELATED: Take W82TEXT pledge to help stop texting while driving]

Skelton's goal is to take cellphones out of drivers' hands and keep their focus on the road.

"You can still take a hands-free call, but the system prevents a driver from texting," Skelton told WDBJ. "You know our philosophy at ORIGO is that as long as the phone is in your hands, it's a distraction."

ORIGO plans to sell the product to trucking companies and other businesses with large fleets, but said the device is also a geared to parents of young drivers.[BONUS: Click here to read more on this story from WDBJ]

"As we go out and talk to fleet managers, and risk managers and CFOs, you know they all think it's great and they want to buy it for their trucks, but they want one for their kid right now," he said.

Cheryl Lynch, ORIGO's sales director, said this has been a meaningful project because of the product's lifesaving implications.

"Until you see people who are really affected by it, you don't realize how important it really is," Lynch said.

If sales of ORIGOSafe take off, others in the Roanoke Valley will benefit since many of its components are made in the area.

In fact, Skelton said a vendor just down the street from ORIGO is molding plastic for the units. Keltech, off Plantation Road, is manufacturing circuit boards and Corrugated Container is manufacturing all of the boxes. [BONUS: Click here to visit Origio's website] 

The consumer version of ORIGOSafe is available installed for about $400. The company says its ecommerce website will be up this week. ORIGO will begin shipping products later this month.

BONUS: Click here for more info on W82TEXT, a community initiative from CBS 6 and Emroch and Kilduff.