Texting behind the wheel is incredibly dangerous, but even though it’s banned in most countries, you still see people tapping away while driving.

A new app is taking a different approach – offering incentives to encourage drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and off their phone.

SafeDrive is a smartphone app that rewards drivers who keep their hands on the wheel. Every time you drive over 10km/h you get points if you don’t touch your phone.

SafeDrive works with Android and Windows smartphones, with an iPhone version coming soon.

SafeDrive app screenshot

Points can be used to get discounts on goods from selected partners, so 30 points might buy you a lens and 5 points will earn you a photo frame.  Use your phone while driving, however, and you lose points.

A maximum of 120 points can be accrued in a 24-hour period to avoid unscrupulous people driving around just to collect points. The app retains a trip history and drivers are encouraged to compete with friends to become the most responsible driver.

SafeDrive app screenshot

SafeDrive is currently active in Romania where  XL, the company behind the app, has signed the second largest eCommerce website and petrol station network, offering 2% discounts and advantageous conversion of SafeDrive points. They are currently in discussion with insurance, fast-food, cinemas and sports events companies.

XL is also looking at expanding internationally and is currently looking for partners. The team is also working with charities, so in the future users of the app will be able to donate points to charity.

Research from Ford’s Driving Skills for Life programme found that checking social media at the wheel can distract a driver for 20 seconds, so SafeDrive seems like a clever way to encourage drivers to put their smartphones down.

Would you join a scheme such as SafeDrive? Let us know in the Comments section below.