Tech Distracts Teen Drivers — But it Can Keep Them Safe, Too

Tech Distracts Teen Drivers — But it Can Keep Them Safe
Tech Distracts Teen Drivers — But it Can Keep Them Safe

It used to be that your kids turned 16, grabbed the keys to the car, and headed out —you just hoped for the best. These days, while the worry is the same, at least you can do something about it.

Because of their inexperience behind the wheel, teen drivers have long been the riskiest group on the road. Per mile driven, teen drivers are nearly three times more likely than older drivers to be in a fatal crash.

There are many reasons for this, including general inexperience on the road, tunnel vision, not properly scanning for dangers, not predicting how other drivers will act and speeding. Now medical science has empirical data which concludes that their undeveloped grey matter causes immature judgement.

Distracted driving is a huge danger, accounting for one out of every four car accidents in the U.S. Among teens, it’s estimated that distraction was a factor in almost 60 percent of moderate to severe crashes.

But, as with everything today, there’s an app for that. Actually, there’s a few!

TrueMotion Family

Your one-stop shop to monitor teen driving habits. TrueMotion runs on your child’s phone (iPhone or Android) any time they’re driving and allows you to set all sorts of limits: a range where they’re allowed to drive, speed limits, and even a curfew. If your kid breaks any of those rules, or if they text or call while driving, you’ll get a push notification. And it tracks history, too, keeping tabs on the number of sudden stops, the amount of distracted driving, and how much time your teen spends over the speed limit. All that goes into a driver safety score. Parents, you can even compare scores with your kids!


Milez takes a more hands-off approach, literally. The system is simple: Your teen starts the app before taking the wheel. If they don’t touch their phone until reaching their destination, they get paid. The payment per mile is set by a Guardian Angel (probably you, parents), and the app makes the payment from you to your teen every 200 miles of distraction-free driving. It’s like an allowance with terms. Available for iOS and Android.

Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving

Obviously, the big appeal of this feature is that your child won’t get notifications while driving and won’t be tempted to look at their phone. But the other upside is the a message it sends, both literally and figuratively. If you get a message while you’re driving and DNDWD is on, your phone automatically responds with “I’m driving with Do Not Disturb While Driving turned on. I’ll see your message when I get where I’m going.” Kids take a lot of cues from their peers, and this makes it much easier to see their friends setting good examples.

Users have the option to exit out of DND during the trip, but parents also have the ability to lock that out. Android has a similar feature we’ll probably see more of soon.

One final note: it’s not just technology that can keep your teen driver safe. A recent AAA study asked driver’s ed instructors if parents are doing a better job of preparing their kids to drive compared to 10 years ago. Sixty-five percent of them said parents are doing worse. A big part of that is the example we set — another AAA study showed that drivers age 35-55 are even more likely to text and drive than teens are, with a whopping 77 percent of older drivers admitting to texting and driving.

So maybe you should think about getting some of these apps for yourself, too.

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