Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and Shepherd Center to Develop a Safe Driving App for Parents and Teen Drivers
App will cover both basic and complicated skills for young drivers.
Teaching a child how to drive is often an anxious time for both parents and teens. The anxiety is justified. While teens are singularly the most vulnerable population when it comes to motor vehicle safety, rarely are parents trained to teach their teens to safely operate and maintain an automobile.
Fortunately, studies have shown that one of the most protective factors against teenage morbidity and mortality due to car crashes are parents who model, monitor and enforce safe driving practices. With that in mind, the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) and Shepherd Center’s Injury Prevention Program have teamed up to create an innovative drivers education mobile app targeting parents.
GOHS has given a grant to Shepherd Center – to be implemented from October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017 – of $175,000 to write a driving curriculum that will be transformed into an easy-to-use app available on both iPhone and Android platforms. The app will include step-by-step lessons that start with basics – checking tire pressure, positioning mirrors – to more complicated maneuvers, such as driving around big trucks and merging onto highways. The app will track the number of hours spent driving together and the weather conditions present, to ensure that teens are completing their required 40 hours of supervised instruction. The app, which is slated for release mid-2017, will include information on driver training requirements for all U.S. states.
The main objective for the grant is to increase compliance with graduated drivers licensing (GDLs) laws by educating parents. The app will review and quiz both parties on GDLs and have a customizable driving agreement to set limitations and expectations from the start. Additionally, the app will include lessons on inattention blindness and distracted driving.
“Our goal is to meet young drivers and parents where they are, and an app does exactly that,” says Emma Harrington, Shepherd Center’s director of injury prevention and education. “Using a technology they’re already familiar with, we can ensure our youth are learning the skills required to be safe on the road."
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 935 inpatients, 541 day program patients and more than 7,300 outpatients each year.