It’s natural for a parent to worry when their teenage child starts driving. Driving is a risky activity, and even the most seasoned and conscientious driver can get into a serious accident if he or she encounters bad weather or another driver who is impaired or simply not paying attention. Teenagers notoriously believe themselves invincible, and it’s not uncommon for teens to think little of talking or texting on their cell phones, or eating fast food, or cranking up the stereo and rocking out to a song they love while behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, not giving full attention to the road can mean that a teenager ends up in a car crash. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that auto collisions are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. Among the factors listed by the CDC that increase the risk of car crashes for teens were:
- Drinking alcohol
- Following other cars too closely
- Failing to wear seat belts
A June 2014 report by Safe Kids Worldwide called “Teens in Cars” surveyed teens about their driving habits to try to learn more about teen driving fatalities, and particularly about the relationship between texting or cell phone use and driving fatalities. Their report found that 39 percent of teens who responded said they have been in a car with a teen driver who was texting, and 43 percent said they had ridden with a teen driver who was talking on a cell phone while driver. The survey also found a higher likelihood that a teen who said they didn’t use a seat belt also said they text while driving.
The good news for parents is that technology is developing that can give parents more control over their teen’s driving — and help reduce the risk that their child will get into a serious or fatal crash.
AT&T now offers the free DriveMode app for iPhone and Android that silences text message notifications and automatically replies to texts while your phone is in DriveMode. When the app is installed on a teen’s cell phone, it turns on when the car is in motion and sends a text message to a parent when DriveMode is turned off or auto-mode is disabled. The app is intended to allow teens to focus on the road instead of their phones while in the car.
Another app developed by Hyundai called Blue Link allows parents to set limits on speed, the hours the car can be driven, and the distance it can be driven. Parents get a text message when limits are violated, and the teen sees through the car’s multimedia screen that a text was sent. The company said that studies show teens driving vehicles with monitoring devices such as Blue Link take fewer risks on the road.
Teens may not like the idea of their parents restricting their freedom on the road, but apps like these can help set parents minds at ease that their teens will be safer, more conscientious drivers.
If you or your teenage child has been injured in a car crash, the experienced attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can help. Call us today at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation.