Even as the people of Los Angeles prepare for extra-long drives during "Carmageddon" — the temporary shut-down on the weekend of July 16 of L.A.'s massively trafficked Interstate 405 — pop singer Justin Bieber is asking people not to text and drive. Bieber is also campaigning for a cellphone app that disables texting and emailing while a user's vehicle is in motion.
"We need to change the attitudes in our society toward texting and driving, and I am making it one of my personal goals to make this happen," said Bieber in a prepared statement, as quoted by the Hollywood Reporter.
This is nothing new for Bieber, who has a history of promoting safe driving to his mostly teenage fans. "Every night we perform we have a banner that goes up that says 'Don't Text and Drive' so it really means a lot to me," he said.
But now Bieber is also partnering with a company called PhoneGuard, Inc., which sells an app to stop teens and others from texting while driving. The app automatically detects when a car is in motion over 10 miles per hour and then blocks the user from texting, web surfing or emailing. The PhoneGuard Mobile Drive Safe app costs $29.99 a year and works with Android and Blackberry devices. An Apple iOS app is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 1.
PhoneGuard also offers an app that will convert text messages to voice so drivers are not distracted by reading them on screen.
Bieber, who first teamed up with PhoneGuard back in May, is also supporting the Remember Alex Brown Foundation, named after a teenager who died while texting and driving. According to the foundation's website, "We lost our daughter, Alex Brown, in a single car accident as she drove to what seemed like just another ordinary day of her senior year in high school. Although no other vehicles were involved, Alex was not alone. The cellphone on which she had sent and received over 10,000 text messages in the weeks preceding her accident was with her."
"As a 17-year-old driver, I am aware of the countless distractions that we teenagers face on the road, and texting is one that is preventable," said Bieber. "There are too many young people, like Alex Brown, whom we've lost because of texting while driving, and it is my hope that, through this partnership with PhoneGuard, we will raise awareness of this issue and create safer conditions for everyone on the road."
Bieber isn't the only celebrity talking about safe driving during Carmageddon. The Los Angeles Police Department has asked celebs like Ashton Kutcher and Lada Gaga to tweet about the freeway closure. (For Bieber's sake, let's hope people aren't reading those tweets on their phones.)
You can also take a "Don't Text and Drive" pledge right here at Mother Nature Network, courtesy of AT&T.