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11-year-old Girl Wins $20K from AT&T for Road Safety App

Texting while driving is considered pretty bad practice and is banned by most states in some capacity or another. However, though it's been banned, getting people to stop texting while driving is another problem entirely. AT&T recently awarded an 11-year-old girl $20,000 for her part in designing a smartphone application that would discourage people from texting while behind the wheel.

The LA Times reports that sixth grader Victoria Walker designed Rode Dog as part of a collaboration with David Grau, a creative director and designer at WLDG. The application was made at the "It Can Wait" Hackathon run by AT&T in LA a couple of weeks ago. Participants were asked to come up with an app to discourage people from texting and driving. Out of 120 participants and five semi-finalists, 11-year-old Walker and her partner Grau took home the top prize of $20,000.

The idea behind Rode Dog is to have one group of drivers work together to keep each other from texting while driving. Users create a "pack" of people they know and then check to see if other members of the pack are using their phone to text while operating a car. If the answer is yes, a member of the pack can send them a warning that arrives in the form of a barking noise that won't stop until the alert has been acknowledged and silenced.

The $20,000 from AT&T will go towards bringing Rode Dog to market. Walker, who met Grau at the hackathon, said she came up with the idea while listening to her three dogs barking. It's not yet clear when the application will be available for download and for which platforms, but we'll keep you posted. We'd also be interested in learning if the app still works when you have your phone on silent. 

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