Teen driving has been a concern for parents since the automobile first became mainstream in the 1920s. The majority of states adopted the minimum age of 16 by the 1940s, and the thought of allowing a teenager to drive one of those vehicles had to be frightening—even without a radio in the cabin to distract the driver.
Needless to say, the dangers of texting, web browsing, and talking on the phone were never a concern for parents of that era either. Fast-forward to the 21st century, and these distractions are very real. Distracted driving is an epidemic among all drivers, but teens are much more susceptible to these risks because of their sheer lack of road experience.
Technology, however, can also help your teen be a better driver and allow you to monitor their driving habits. There are a variety of apps on the market today that help you stay aware of their behavior behind the wheel and even give you the power to disable certain phone applications while the vehicle is in motion.
Parents know what is best for their child, so the software you choose is really up to you. Here are some examples of the features available to monitor the driving behavior of your teen:
Active GPS Tracking
Active GPS tracking devices allow you to follow the vehicle in real time and so much more. This software is certainly the most detailed because you can review the history of data including locations the vehicle stopped, how long it was stopped for, and the speeds the vehicle traveled. You can also set perimeter maps to alert you when the vehicle travels out of the designated area.
Passive GPS Tracking
Passive tracking offers everything of the active system except for the real time tracking. Parents can unplug the hardware and download the data to see where the vehicle was, for how long, and the speed history. Passive systems are great for parents who do not need to constantly monitor their teen driver, but would like to review their driving behavior.
According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 39% of 15-20 year old male drivers involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the incident. These figures represent statistics from 2007, but it is safe to say speeding is the main concern for most parents today. Alerts can be sent via text message, email, or both, and let you know when and where your teen is speeding.
If you suspect your child is browsing or texting while driving, there is software you can purchase to inhibit these actions. You can block mobile apps while the vehicle is in motion or disable the ability to send and receive texts. Once you receive an alert of this type of phone use, you can remotely disable your teen’s phone within seconds.
Motor vehicle accidents remain the leading cause of death for teenagers in America. Your teen’s inexperience combined with speeding, distracted driving, impaired driving, drowsy driving, lack of seatbelt use and other factors make a solid case for these monitoring apps. Be sure to explain to your son or daughter why you want to use them. If you give them the facts and fully explain your intentions, they will hopefully be on board with the idea. Nevertheless, the decision to use this software is up to you.
About the author:
Doug Climenhaga is president of SVI International, Inc. (http://www.sviinternational.com/), a leading supplier of parts for industrial lift equipment. With more than 20 years experience in the hydraulic and automotive lift industries, he holds two patents and has designed scores of problem-solving products.