Our Mission: To Make Distracted Driving an Unacceptable Human Behavior

A personal account by Scott Tibbitts, CEO and Founder

On Thursday, December 10, “CBS This Morning” aired a powerful, 4-minute feature segment on Katasi’s Groove. Similar to the two previous global news features on our technology, via the New York Times and Katie Couric’s World 3.0 Series, the segment created an avalanche of attention that comes when millions of people learn about the Groove solution to distracted driving. Each call and email we receive from out of the blue—“I saw you guys on ‘CBS This Morning!’” or “Gayle King loves what you are doing. Keep it up!”—is an affirmation of not only of our work, but also of our passion and commitment to eliminate distracted driving.

The press attention has been honoring, but what follows is more so. People of influence have reached out to offer their help: People like leaders in the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Transportation as well as Congressional Representatives. Retired senior telecommunication executives from around the world and leaders within Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Celebrities in the worlds of entertainment and sports. Leaders in education. All asking how they can help Groove be deployed swiftly and broadly.

But what matters most is when we hear from the people like you and me who fervently recognize Groove as the solution to the problem of distracted driving: “I HAVE to have this for my family. When and where can I get this? Which carrier is going to offer Groove first?”

Globally, more than a thousand people are now a part of the Groovement, and the numbers continue to grow.

Many of these people have had personal experience with the tragedy of distracted driving. Often, they introduce themselves, by leading with their stories, each of which enunciate the importance of our mission.

One of the more poignant of these stories was offered unexpectedly. While talking on the phone with a Verizon customer service representative who was helping me with my new phone plan, I explained a bit about Groove. His response? Silence. When he spoke a moment later, he choked up as he shared that his closest high school friend and the friend’s infant child were killed several years ago by a texting driver. He closed the call by wishing us Godspeed and his hope that Verizon will be first to make Groove available here in the United States.

His comments affirm a statistic that the telecommunications companies have shared with us: that on average, each of the major mobile phone service providers loses more than one customer to distracted driving every day.


When the “CBS This Morning” segment aired, we were prepared to capture viewer response with a survey on our website. The data has not been fully collated, but three preliminary highlights of the survey convey a mandate:

  • 54% of those taking the survey would switch their family from their current mobile provider to one that offers Groove
  • 98% would pay $5.00 or more per month for Groove (before any insurance company discounts)

And a final data point shows that the issue is not limited to younger drivers:

  • 92% would install Groove in each of their family’s cars


Our mission simply stated:

To Make Distracted Driving an Unacceptable Human Behavior

Are you with us? Here’s how YOU can help:

  1. Visit us at katasi.com.
  2. Take the survey.
  3. Join The Groovement
  4. Tell your friends!

Texting While Parenting: Monkey See, Monkey Do

Distracted Parenting

Last week I was passed a young woman walking with her daughter on a path near my home. It’s not uncommon for me to see parents and kids together here; we were on a well used walkway that runs along a shallow creek cherished by neighborhood children for the treasures it hosts: thumbnail-sized frogs, skittering crawfish, the occasional swimming garter snake, and countless snails and other invertebrates.

It is an area rich in opportunities to explore, learn, and squeal with discovery: a pocket nature museum with unlimited reasons for kids to ask questions and for parents to wish they hadn’t skipped their life science labs in high school.

Like a responsible mother, the woman held her daughter’s hand as they walked. In her free hand she held her smartphone. And naturally, the smartphone held her attention as her thumb skittered across the screen.

I’ll grant you, the path is wide, and the creek is several feet away at the edge of a gentle slope. The child was in no danger of wandering off or slipping off a ledge into rushing water. The mother’s grasp of her child’s hand provided adequate protection–from physical danger.

In the child’s free hand? A toy smartphone, the fraternal twin of her mother’s phone. Her small thumb rubbed clumsy patterns across the plastic.

What if poor modeling were the most dire consequence of distracted parenting?

Raise your hand if you’ve ever browsed Facebook on your phone while you were with your child.
Go ahead: no judgment.
Snapped a selfie and posted it to Instagram?
Read or sent a text?
Come on.

No one with a cell phone will be surprised to learn that distracted parenting, and specifically texting while parenting, is on the rise, making poor role modeling a comparatively innocuous effect of this trend.

In a 2012 Wall Street Journal video/article, Ben Worthen and Linda Blake reported that non-fatal injuries among children under 5 had fallen for much of the 1990s.

From 2007-2010, however, the trend was reversed: those injuries rose by 12% (CDC). A likely cause? During the same period, the number of people in the US with smartphones grew from 6% to 30% (comScore). Correlation does not equal causation, but the numbers won’t be ignored.

It’s not news: Users are easily seduced by smartphones. The facts begin to tell the story:

  • Cell phones are involved in 1.6 million auto crashes each year that cause 500,000 injuries and take 4000 lives (USDOT).
  • Between 2005 and 2012, the number of drunk driving fatalities decreased 28% (Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibly).
  • Between 2005 and 2008 alone, the number of distracted driving fatalities increased by the same percentage (NIH).

AT&T’s “Close to Home”

Moms’ and dads’ intentions to parent in the moment are easily supplanted by games, social media, and texting. But the risks of passing along bad habits and missing out on those meaningful and often teachable moments with your child pale into insignificance with the bottom line: parents who pay attention to their phones instead of to their children are risking their children’s lives–and their own.

What strategies do you use to resist the temptation to give your phone your attention that your child deserves?

Meet Scott Tibbitts. Meet Katasi’s Groove.

Meet Scott Tibbitts.

Scott Tibbitts and his family practicing focused driving

Katasi Founder and CEO Scott Tibbitts practicing focused driving on Father’s Day with his family: his wife, Jackie; son, Ryan; and daughter, Alyssa.

Musician. Storyteller. Entrepreneur. Engineer. Father.

In 2008, Scott Tibbitts arrived for a meeting in Denver, CO with Dave Sueper: husband, father of two, and vice president of an engineering company Scott was looking to work with. Even though Scott and Dave had never met– this would have been their first meeting–Scott was stunned to learn that Dave had been killed in a two-car crash only hours earlier on his way to the office.

The cause of the crash? The driver of the other vehicle had been distracted by his phone and ran a red light before t-boning Dave’s car.

Scott was profoundly affected by the emotional devastation of Dave’s co-workers; he had grieved alongside his own employees after a similar loss in his former company. But more so, Scott was moved by the thought that a family not unlike his own–both men were husbands and fathers of two children–had just been devastated by an action both mindless and tragic.

“I could not shake this idea that I had just driven through the same intersection. If the meeting had been scheduled two hours earlier, that could have been me. And it would have been Jackie picking up that phone call: ‘I’m sorry, but your husband’s been in an auto crash…’”

“This whole thing kind of went deep inside me. It wouldn’t let go–this feeling–it just wouldn’t let go,” Scott tells Katie Couric in a 2014 Yahoo! News interview.

Scott was in a unique position to create a solution to the developing epidemic of distracted driving. A rocket scientist and entrepreneur searching for his next venture, he was drawn to finding solutions to significant problems.

What if those phone calls—-the ones that begin with “There’s been an accident…”–would never happen? How can technology solve this problem, preventing untold numbers of those calls?

In 2009, Scott gathered a team of successful technical entrepreneurs who shared his passion to find a technological solution. They were convinced that the existing answers to distracted driving were not viable, and they were “crystal clear” on what the solution would be.

“We imagined a solution that leveraged coming technologies such as the Internet of Things, connected vehicles, and the ubiquity of Cloud computing,” Scott says. “We believed that if we could envision and develop such a ‘future technology state’ solution, we would be able to accelerate deployment of THE technical solution to distracted driving by several years, saving tens of thousands of lives.”

In 2010, Scott and a team of Colorado-based executives from the telecom and aerospace industries founded Katasi to create the technology that ultimately became Groove.

Meet Groove by Katasi

Groove module

Katasi’s Groove is a small module that plugs into a port under the steering wheel of most cars manufactured since 1996.

Compatible with any phone, Katasi’s Groove connects your car to the Cloud, notifying your phone provider you are driving and enabling them to block text messages, phone calls, and social media updates while allowing you to access GPS and music streaming.

While your car is in motion, the Cloud becomes your personal assistant, notifying those who are sending you messages that you are driving, and the messages will be forwarded when it’s safe; after you arrive at your destination, any texts, phone messages, and updates sent during your drive are forwarded to your phone.

Coming soon: GrooveGame by Katasi also celebrates and rewards focused drivers! GrooveGame goes beyond being a tool to restrict distractions, allowing drivers to compete for “best on the road” and providing sweet rewards for focused drivers through our brand partners.

“The key to the future of the world is finding the hopeful stories and letting them be known.” –Pete Seeger

That’s just the beginning of Katasi’s story. It’s been a remarkable ride so far, and we invite you to share more of our journey.

Katasi and Groovement Press in Australia

Australian Carriers Seek Distracted Driving Solution with Katasi

Groove by Katasi - a device which is part of the solution to prevent distracted driving

Groove by Katasi – a photo of the device which helps prevent distractions on a phone

Katasi recently received press in Australia for a pilot currently running with Australian telecommunications providers. Founder Scott Tibbitts discusses the distracted driving solution with ABC News. Scott provides a demonstration of the software that blocks distractions including texts and push notifications when a vehicle is in motion. Once the vehicle is turned off, text messages are forwarded to the phone.

Read the article and watch the video: ABC News – Police support device that stops drivers texting to learn more about Katasi’s distracted driving prevention product, Groove.