Watching your teenager obtain a driver’s license is a rite of passage, but it’s terrifying to think about turning over the keys to a 3,000-pound weapon. Fortunately, technology can help monitor your teen driver’s activities behind the wheel, even when you’re not in the car. These driving apps are designed to protect your young driver and give you peace of mind.
Rite of passage
Teen drivers have long been notorious for speeding and careless driving. In fact, 16-year-olds have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age, according to DoSomething.org. And now, of course, they have technology to distract them. Sure, there are laws aplenty to minimize cell phone use while driving, but they remain a major problem such that the federal government has a website, Distraction.gov, which is devoted to the topic of distracted driving.
“Ten percent of drivers age 15 to 19 killed in car crashes were distracted at the time of their accident,” says Chicago personal injury lawyer Jared Staver, who’s seen his share of driving accidents. Those distractions include passengers, food, music and, of course, the almighty cell phone. “Parents can use road safety apps to curtail the use of mobile devices by teens while they’re behind the wheel,” says Staver.
Minimize the likelihood that your child will text and drive, speed, travel beyond a designated area, or break curfew with one of these proven apps:
AT&T Drive Mode is a free app for iPhone and Androids. It turns on when the car is moving and notifies parents if the app is disabled. It silences text message notifications and automatically replies to texts while the app is turned on.
In addition to notifying you when your teen uses the phone while behind the wheel, Canary also lets you know if he or she exceeds the speed limit or breaks the curfew you’ve set in the app.
Cellcontrol consists of a little black box that fits onto the windshield and an app that is loaded onto your teen’s smartphone. The combination lets you control what your teen can and cannot do on their phone while the wheel.
Drive Alive Lite uses a carrot instead of a stick, awarding points to teen drivers when they drive without using their phone. The app motivates your adolescent to ignore the phone and earn cash or discounts.
DriveScribe monitors your teen’s driving and offers tips on how to drive more safely. It keeps track of the routes and speed.
With Hum by Verizon, you’ll always know how and where your teen is driving. Hum not only provides boundary alerts and speed activity reports, it also gives diagnostic information on your car’s operation and can summon roadside assistance (great for older cars that aren’t equipped with such features).
Hyundai Blue Link is designed to prevent teens from taking risks while driving. It lets you limit their maximum driving speed, set driving curfews, and limit the distance the car can be driven.
iOnRoad Smart Driver has, among other safety features, a collision warning feature that can help reduce the instances of car crashes.
Autobrain was created by parents, techies, and a volunteer first responder. It plugs into the diagnostic port of your car to report back when your teen speeds, goes to the wrong place, or has an accident.
Before the driver’s test
Use driving technology even before your teen obtains a license. Aceable is a driver’s ed app that completely replaces traditional classroom training. You can track your teen’s progress and pinpoint areas that need extra work.
“It also sends you everything you need to help your teen obtain a license,” says Aceable’s Avery Shackelford, “including a certificate of completion, checklist of what to bring to the DMV, and reminder emails about state requirements.” The app is currently available in California, Texas, Illinois, Florida, and Ohio.