In 2008, Rob Guba called out multiple times to his teenage son as the youth walked down a hallway at home. Focused intently on his mobile phone, the son ignored him and stepped straight into a wall. Guba, who is the CEO of the Baton Rouge-based technology company Cellcontrol, had a moment of parental panic followed by a spark of entrepreneurial inspiration.
“What’s he going to do when he’s not near me?” Guba recalls thinking. “What’s he going to do when he’s behind the wheel of a car?”
A few weeks earlier a commuter train engineer in Southern California had caused a deadly rail accident after missing a red light and colliding head-on with a freight train because he was reportedly distracted by a text message. The seed of a startup idea was planted in Guba and his co-founders.
“It just kind of dawned on all of us … that mobile devices were creating the distraction,” Guba says. “Obviously if the technology could be the problem then technology could be part of the solution.”
Those discussions soon led to the creation of Cellcontrol, a company with the mission of ending distracted driving and creating better drivers. The company’s distracted-driving prevention platform and flagship product, DriveID, eliminate talking, texting and browsing on any mobile device while a vehicle is in motion.
The company has grown rapidly since those early days as it works to tackle a problem that has exploded through the rapid proliferation of mobile devices. Distracted driving causes crashes that kill an average of eight people and injure more than 1,100 each day in the United States.