Distracted teen driver? There’s an app for that

Monday April 21, 2014

Last week, we discussed Connecticut’s graduated driver licensing (GDL) program, which grants young people driving privileges in stages in effort to promote safe and responsible driving habits.

Additionally, we discussed how Connecticut is one of 37 states with bans cellphone-use by drivers under the age of 18 and one of more than 40 with a texting while driving ban for all drivers.

However, a recent article from The Washington Post shows that even with these laws, teens are still risking their own lives and the lives of others by using their cellphones while driving.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, teens are more likely than any other demographic under the age of 80 to be involved in a fatal car accident. What’s more is that among all drivers who are killed in fatal car accidents, teenage victims are the most likely to have been distracted at the time.

Unfortunately, it appears that many teens are unwilling to wait until they arrive at their destinations to fire off a text, answer a call or even take a “selfie.”

That’s why some concerned parents are turning to smartphone applications that block cellphone use while driving. There are several variations of the “safe mode” applications on the market today that use GPS or vehicle integration technology to turn off texting, calling and other social media capabilities while a vehicle is in motion.

Some of the applications allow parents to select which features should be turned off — such as text, Facebook or Instagram — while the car is in motion and then alert parents if the apps have been turned off or disabled.

Are you the parent of a teenage driver? How do you talk to your son or daughter about the dangers of distracted driving?

Source: The Washington Post, “Apps for parents curb distracted teen drivers,” Ashley Halsey III, April 19, 2014

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