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While you never want to see someone driving a car while reading a book or a newspaper, Honda says that reading and driving do mix with their new program, Honda Road Readers.

The new program is a smartphone app, available for Apple and Android phones, that provides free access to children’s audiobooks with the goal of providing “an educational and entertaining alternative to the usual car ride and inspire young listeners to vividly imagine,” said Susie Rossick, assistant vice president, Honda/Acura Regional Media and Marketing at American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Honda launched the program after learning that the average American family spends about 4 hours per week in the car and commissioning a survey about how they could help maximize that time.

Parents prefer children listen to books read aloud

From those surveyed, Honda learned that 77% of parents with 1 or more children aged 5 to 16 think listening to audiobooks or stories read aloud is very important for children’s cognitive development and developing listening skills, while 69% were concerned that their kids were spending too much time in front of screens.

The Honda Road Readers app is available to all Honda owners by inputting the 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN) for their car. The app provides free access to 5 audiobooks per VIN per year, with the 1st being the children’s classic “Peter Pan,” followed by 4 other titles of their choice.

There will be 10 rotating National Teacher of the Year featured books and a variety of audiobook categories, including science fiction, teens, mystery and fantasy/adventure.

Most books will include critical-thinking questions to get families to dive deeper into each story.

Did you know that the Honda Odyssey is one of The 41 best cars for patriotic drivers?

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.