Home and Family 3077 Final Photo Assets
19-year-old TJ Evarts shows Mark Steines and Cristina Ferrare his ingenious device that helps parents make sure their kids don’t text and drive.

TJ Evarts, a former FIRST® LEGO® League team member and a Shark Tank contestant, will host a highly anticipated Twitter chat on Thursday, June 9, from 6-7 p.m. EDT, using our @FIRSTLEGOLeague Twitter account.

20160113_094714Before TJ had his own driver’s license,  he and his Smart Move season teammates, The Inventioneers, invented a steering wheel cover that prevents drivers from being distracted.  SMARTwheel is the first intelligent steering wheel cover.  It works by sensing when you do not have both hands on the steering wheel.  If one hand is removed for more than four seconds, for instance when texting, the driver is alerted by a buzzing noise and flashing light.  This is also recorded to an app that rates safe driving and can be reported to parents.

There’s no outsmarting the device, either.  If you think you can text by moving your hands closer together yet still staying on the wheel.  The sensors will pick this up and sound the alarm, flash lights and again record the illegal move to the app.  Not only does this create safe driving, it gives parents peace of mind and saves lives.

TJTJ got his innovating start with FIRST LEGO League.  In 2004 he co-founded the Inventioneers team, which went on to win the New Hampshire state championship four years in a row. The also took the first-place Champion’s Award at the  2010 World Festival in Atlanta.  TJ then commercialized his team’s winning Project, the SMARTwheel (www.SMARTwheelUSA.com).  His efforts have been recognized and broadcasted around the world.  His supporters include former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood, U.S. President Barack Obama, and business leaders including Dean Kamen, and Robert Herjevec.  His story has been featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, CBS’s Innovation Nation, MSNBC, and Today.  He  works to inspire other young people to not only get involved in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), but also to explore the exciting world of entrepreneurship.

To join the conversation, use the hashtag #FIRSTQA. Can’t attend live? Submit your questions in advance and then watch this blog for the Storified synopsis.