Parents of teens who use safe-driving apps should look for these features

Suzanne Monaghan
January 26, 2020 - 11:33 am
Distracted teen driver

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Sixteen- to 19-year-old drivers are nearly three times more likely than older drivers to be in a deadly crash, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 

There are dozens of apps designed to help teens develop safe driving practices by avoiding the temptation of distractions. However, they are not all created equal.

Some are marketed as safe-driving apps, but that doesn't mean they're safe, says Alex Epstein, director of transportation safety at the National Safety Council.

"An example of that might be apps that are built to read aloud the electronic communications that people get," he said.

Those audio messages are still a distraction, and receiving them increases the temptation to respond.

Even without an app, most phones have the ability to block calls and texts while driving. 

There's no replacement for driving experience, Epstein says. But parents who choose an app to monitor a child's driving should look for certain features.

"Typically these apps understand if a driver is speeding or does harsh braking or makes abrupt turns. And some of them even have the potential for geofencing, which means that alerts might be sent if a car goes out of a particular geography."  

If using an app, Epstein recommends choosing one that will alert parents.

He adds parents should always ask three questions before letting a child get behind the wheel: "Where are they going? Who is going to be in the car? And when are they coming back?"