Driving Safely: There’s An App for That
While you do not want the cell phone anywhere near your child as he or she drives, several mobile applications and devices are available that actually help teens with the driving process, whether it’s blocking cell phone use, acting as a coach, promoting safe driving or tracking accidents. Here’s a list of applications that might help your teenager be a safer driver:
TIME TO DRIVE (www.timetodriveapp.com), developed by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC) and the Center for the Study of Young Drivers, this app helps parents supervise their teen drivers during the practice period. Time to Drive will record the total time of driving and driving in a variety of conditions, keep track of hard stops, provide tips for parents, encourage the parent-teen team to meet driving goals and show a map of past trips. It also generates a log of trips you can provide to the department of motor vehicles. It is available in the iTunes store for $3.99.
DRIVE SCRIBE® (www.drivescribe.com) is a free smart-phone application aimed at preventing distracted driving. It leverages the phone’s GPS system, mapping data and accelerometer to monitor speed, traffic regulation compliance and sudden movements, such as slamming on the brakes or swerving. Drivers place the smart phone in the car and listen to audio notifications of upcoming stop signs and speed-limit excesses. Aimed at teen drivers, DriveScribe also blocks texts, emails and incoming phone calls. Parents can even elect to receive texts and emails generated from the application to let them know of their teen’s progress.
WISEDRIVE (downloadable for $.99) automatically detects drivers moving at high speeds, disables audio text messaging notifications and sends out an automated reply.
MY MAX SPEED uses the internal GPS to log speed and location every five seconds and downloads all data into a spreadsheet. The app is available for Android smartphones for $4.99 on the Android Marketplace.
SAFE DRIVER monitors the location and driving practices — such as a car’s top speed, excessive acceleration, braking and turning — of drivers and alerts others via email or text whenever the driver exceeds a specific speed. (It even shows where the infractions occurred.) The basic app is free, and an upgraded version costs $4.99.
DANGERS OF DISTRACTED DRIVING is a free app that discusses the consequences of distracted driving, introduces the concepts of feet-per-second and following too closely, and provides visual scenarios to illustrate the concepts discussed.
STEER CLEAR MOBILE®, a free app from State Farm Insurance, consists of five modules: self-assessment, driving logs, safe driving pledge, video testimonials in which teens describe accidents they were in and the mistakes that caused them, and then a final self-assessment. When completed, drivers are eligible for a State Farm safe driving discount.
NEWLYLICENSED.COM (www.newlylicensed.com) sells car magnets that identify new drivers in hopes that other drivers will use caution, courtesy and patience on road when they encounter young drivers. The hope is to reduce teen accidents.
Written by Sara Baxter
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 900 inpatients, 575 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year.