First, he turned the key and nothing happened.
But once Senator Tim Kaine placed the cell phone in the ORIGOsafe docking station, he was able to start the car.
The ignition interlock system designed by ORIGO doesn't prevent drivers from making or taking a call, but it keeps the phone out of their hands.
It's a simple solution, the company says, for parents concerned about teenage drivers, or a company with a fleet of vehicles on the road.
Kaine took a closer look at the technology Tuesday during a visit to the Roanoke Valley, and ORIGO wasn't the only company in the spotlight.
Kaine visited PlasticsOne where components of the device are manufactured. He spoke with executives of Keltech which makes the circuit boards, and leaders of Corrugated Container Corporation, which produces the packaging.
The Roanoke Valley companies, Kaine said, prove that American manufacturing is alive and well.
"We still do manufacturing with the best of them," Kaine told WDBJ7, "and PlasticsOne and ORIGO here are producing a really innovative product that's unique in the world, that's one of a kind. And it's a really important safety solution. "
ORIGO founder Clay Skelton says the military and many federal agencies could benefit from using his solution for distracted driving, and he's hopeful Kaine's support will help to open doors for the technology.
He also believes the Virginia General Assembly should tighten state laws that target texting while driving, so that police officers can pull over a car, if they simply see a phone in the driver's hand.