I'm a dad.
I help out in my church with teen youth groups. And despite what my teens believe, I actually was a teenager at one time back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
The teen years represent that magic threshold (some would say precipice) of adulthood. It reminds me of the toddler years when they discover new freedoms like walking (falling) and unearthing new things to put in their mouths like watch batteries and loose change. The difference is you were usually around to try to avert the really bad stuff from happening.
You can't ride shotgun forever.
So when I read on Cars.com that half of all teen drivers will be involved in a crash before graduating from high school I did what any good parent of a teen driver would do.
Especially younger teen drivers. Esurance.com says 16-year-old drivers are more than 2.5 times more likely to be in a crash than drivers ages 20 to 24. It gets worse when teens are carrying passengers. They report that the likelihood of teen driver death increases with each additional teenage passenger. And, unfortunately, I get calls with that exact scenario far too often. Those are the cases that truly make me cry. And then I spend some extra time with my kids.
Distracted Driving Apps Might Help Curb Teen Car Accidents and Deaths
Smartphones have put the world at our fingertips - particularly our social world. And that's hard for teens to ignore. That ping you hear which signals you to reach for your phone? It's addicting. Physiologically addicting. Read this fascinating blog to find out why our brains will not allow us to ignore the ping.
New distracted driving apps can help us ignore the ping.
By incentivizing safe driving, or even directly blocking you from using your phone while driving, these apps can help keep your attention on the road instead of the phone. According to DMV.org, these apps offer safety features that can:
- Mute text alerts
- Send calls to voicemail
- Send auto-replies via text that the person is driving and cannot respond
- Some will even send alerts to parents
I admit that as a parent, I sometimes get frustrated if my kids don't answer my calls, especially when I don't know they are driving. But I'd rather them get to their destination safely and then respond rather than try to answer and wreck on the way.
With numerous apps that can help curb distracted driving, we cannot review them all. Here are some which offer more (and more interesting) ways to cut distracted driving than simply a locked phone.
Get FREE Cash and Incentives for Not Texting While Driving
PADD (People Against Distracted Driving) has approved two unique apps that offer positive reinforcement to ignore your phone while driving.
Drive BeeHive is a unique peer-to-peer app. You pair with a sponsor to earn rewards points for not using your phone while driving. It is enabled when the driver opens Drive BeeHive and begins driving. A lock screen appears and will count the driver's "safe miles." All it takes to earn those miles for that trip is to not use the phone behind the wheel. If you do, your miles are reset back to zero. Once the driver reaches their goal, their sponsor will be notified to release their reward. PADD is working with consumer sponsors to offer actual rewards in the form of discounts, coupons, and freebies.
AT&T DriveMode is also piggybacking on the positive incentive wave. This app allows you to set up your own prizes for a private group of drivers or for the public. The device works by blocking any phone calls or texting and driving. DriveMode can be set up to automatically start when you are driving over 15 MPH. You can even have it notify you when your teen driver has the app deactivated or if certain settings are changed.
Distracted Driving Apps That Track Driving Habits
Remember when your driver's ed instructor would ding you for making "jack rabbit starts and stops"? You got dinged a few times and eventually learned how to start and stop smoothly. Some apps can now reinforce this in your teen (or any) driver.
Consumer Reports favorably reviewed the Cellcontrol DriveID. It can record braking, acceleration, speed, cornering, and key driving events showing the scores on the app for the driver - or the driver's parents - to view. This Bluetooth technology device attaches under your rearview mirror and pairs their app with your cell phone to help curb impulses to check, chat, or text. Your phone screen goes into screen-lock mode when the car starts moving, and only 911 or designated phone numbers are accessible. This technology also has the capability to rate driving patterns and phone usage on a scoring system.
Apps That Alert Others When You're Driving
The Wonder app empowers not only the driver, but also people who may try to text or call the driver, to make the decision not to contact them while driving. By viewing a red or green dot, contacts within the app will know that you are driving before texting or calling. One downside, Wonder only works if all parties involved have the app.
Get FREE Advice From NC Car Wreck Attorneys
Whether you download a distracted driving app or not, don't ignore the risks of distracted driving. We are all in this together and everyone's at risk. If you or someone you love was injured in a car wreck, whether or not it involved a distracted driver, contact an experienced car wreck lawyer.
Studies have shown that, on average, car accident victims who hired a personal injury lawyer to represent them received 3.5X more compensation for their loss than they would have on their own*.
Contact us now for a free case evaluation to see if we can help or call us at 1-866-900-7078.
* Insurance Research Council 1999