If you have been following our blog, you know that distracted driving is one of biggest concerns parents have when they think about teenage driving. You may have extracted promises from your teen to drive conservatively and may have shared statistics of distracting driving with your teen; however, there is only so much a parent can control when he hands off his car keys to his child. Casting promises aside, teenagers may engage in risky behavior while driving because their attention is drawn to a cell phone, passenger, radio or all three sources of stimuli.
While it may not be possible to completely prohibit your teen from chauffeuring rowdy passengers or to set a volume control on the car radio, there are applications that you can install on your child's phone to monitor driving activity, block calls and texts, and provide driving advice during the course of a trip. These applications have been created at the behest of insurance companies, service providers of cell phones and independent software companies. The use of these applications may be limited to owners of a certain phone operating system or those who subscribe to a specific cell phone service.
Developed for Esure, the car insurance company, this phone app uses proprietary software to determine if a car is travelling over 10 miles an hour. When the software detects this speed has been reached, it disables distracting apps and blocks calls and texts.
For AT&T customers, the DriveMode application is free to install. In addition to blocking texts and phone calls, this app automatically replies to the sender with the notice that the recipient will return the message when he has finished driving. Calls and texts received while the car is moving more than 25 miles an hour are saved in voicemail or in the message history.
Not associated with an insurance company or phone carrier, the company that created this free app has designed a monitoring system that provides verbal instructions regarding driving safety while the vehicle is in motion. In addition to blocking phone or text messages, it also records the driver's speed.
There are other phone applications that you can use which require installation that is more invasive than downloading applications to your teen's cell phone. If you feel it's not necessary to place surveillance hardware in your car, any of these three phone apps could provide you with piece of mind as you child pulls out of your driveway.