Teenagers texting while driving is a nationwide problem, and one Garden State county is approaching a solution using the phone’s technology to save lives.

Ocean County is testing a pilot program which provides 500 free copies of an phone app designed to prevent the driver from texting while the car is in motion.

The app, which works for Apple and Android devices, uses the phone’s GPS to disable the texting function while the car is moving. Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford says they’re trying the novel approach as a means of providing a more practical solution to the problem of driving while texting.

“Rather than increase penalties, and rather than give out fines and tickets and so forth, what we’re suggesting is that you just disable the texting mechanism then the enforcement of the law is not going to become an issue.”

The app the county is using, which is made by the company MobileLock, uses a password system to lock out the text function. Ford says it’s a good way for parents who give their teen a cell phone to be in contact with them, but still want to make sure they stay safe.

“Kids if nothing else will exercise poor judgment at times and this is kind of a mechanism which prevents them from using the phone when the car is moving. ” says Ford.

Though only five hundred free vouchers for the application are available for pickup at police stations throughout Ocean County, Ford says the particular app they are using is available for general sale for five dollars on the Android and Apple marketplace. However she notes the county isn’t endorsing any one particular application, and there are several different ones available- some of which are free. Ford to encourages parents use whatever program works for them.

“What we’re trying to do is drive home the point that there are any number of these applications available and can be installed on phones… You know what we’re suggesting to people is, go ahead and try it. Let us know how it works, do they think it’s a viable solution.”

The free vouchers are on a first come first serve basis for the pilot program, and Ford says if the feedback is good they’ll expand the program and suggest it to other parts of the state.

“So we’re asking the public to help us out, to engage in this task so to speak. To see how it works out to see if there experience is good or bad, and then we’ll take it from there.”