Teens & Technology: How To Keep Your New Driver Safe

Technology is constantly evolving. The way kids grew up 20 years ago is much different from how kids are growing up now.

Parents may want to know how to eliminate distracted driving to help increase their chances of finding cheap insurance for teens, limit screen time, and what apps they should download to create ease of mind and a safer environment.

Do Not Disturb

More than 1,000 people are injured every single day in auto accidents where the at-fault driver was found to be a distracted driver. As a parent, what can you do to help prevent your child from being a statistic? There are apps to help ease parents’ minds while still letting your children feel like they have some freedom.

Whether you are team Android or team iPhone, there are ways to turn on a mode where you will not be notified on calls, texts, or any notifications.

For Androids, you will want to swipe from the top of the screen and select the “Do not disturb” options. It will look like a circle with a line through it. For iPhones, choose the “Do not disturb” function from Settings. When you choose the “Do Not Disturb While Driving” option, it will automatically come on when your phone senses you are driving.

Simply asking your children to make these changes may not be enough to ensure they are driving as attentively as they possibly can. Aside from sitting in the car next to them monitoring their every move in person, what else can you do?

Driving Apps

With so many options available for apps these days, you may be wondering which safety apps are worth your time and if they require any membership fees or purchases. While there are many different apps out there, the top favorites that families seem to choose are Mama Bear and Live360, which help monitor your children while they drive.

Mama Bear and Live360 have similar features. Both apps allow parents to see their children’s current and previous locations while also allowing children to check in with their parents on the app directly. 

Mama Bear

Mama Bear allows parents to monitor social media activity on their child’s account. You can set a notification to happen when something is posted on their page and when they post something. This particular app also allows for speed monitoring. Mama Bear provides real-time speed notifications and information on where high speeds regularly occur.

A unique kid view is available to change the display and add a creative touch to their account. Children can also hit buttons with pre-determined messages to notify their parents that they arrived at a location, need to be picked up, or have an emergency. Overall, this app makes communication very simple and easy.

Live360

Live360 has two options: a premium version with a fee and a free version with fewer features than its premium option.

The premium option provides you with 24/7 access to a contact person at Live360, who will make a call to the police or fire department if you notify the app. You can also locate your missing phone with the stolen phone protection.

The app view on Live360 is the same for both parents and children. You can also view updates on crime in your area and the location of sex offenders. A recent update features group conversations and group shares of places outside your family members.

These apps vary a bit, but for the most part, they are very similar. No matter which one you choose, you will add much-needed information to ease your anxiety when letting your children branch out and drive independently.

Ways to Eliminate Distracted Driving

The most obvious way to avoid distractions is to pay all your attention to driving. Watch for pedestrians, focus on the road, and minimize anything that may distract you from being the most attentive driver that you can be.

Encourage your teen driver to complete all of their grooming activities at home. Makeup and hair should be done before making their driving trip, as these actions are distracting and can lead to accidents.

Cellphones, pencils, hair clips, and any other small objections should be put away in their proper place before starting to drive, as these items can become dislodged. These items could get stuck under the gas pedal or your vehicle’s brakes, causing an accident. Even if it doesn’t get stuck under a pedal, simply trying to find it will take your eyes off of the road.

Putting cellphones in the center console is an excellent way to ensure they will be put away for the duration of your teen’s car trip. It takes about five seconds to read or send an average length text. Five seconds may not seem like a long time, but in that time, you can travel the distance of a football field if you drive 55 mph or faster.

Some states have laws to help minimize the option for distracted driving by limiting the number of passengers a new driver can have with them. In states like Ohio, it is illegal for a new teen driver to have more than one non-family member as a passenger unless driving with a parent or guardian.

Even if this law is not a factor in your state, it may still be worth considering as a rule for your child. Fewer passengers leave less room for distractions like talking, turning around, and listening to loud music.

Teen Driver Discounts

Teenagers’ auto insurance rates are generally higher than the average adult because they are more likely to drive distracted and get into an accident. Some insurance providers give discounts to teen drivers who complete safety driving courses.

Did you know that your child can receive a discount on their insurance rate due to having good grades? You can receive a discount of up to 25% off of your child’s insurance rate if your student carries at least a B average. 

Consider which type of vehicle you want to purchase for your child. A new car with more recent safety features can lower the overall cost of your premium, but buying an older car that still has things like anti-lock brakes, airbags, and anti-theft devices can be just as cost-effective.

Some insurance companies provide options for paying per mile vs. the typical auto insurance package. If your teen driver is only driving around the city that you live in, it may be worth asking your agent about low mileage discounts as well.

Safety Decisions

With technology ever-evolving, safety advances are made more frequently than ever before. What is safe today may be outdated tomorrow. As parents, staying up to date on the latest safety trends and developments when protecting your teen driver is crucial.

Downloading apps, teaching your child the proper way to pay attention while driving, and practicing what you preach could be life-saving for the newest drivers in your family.

Have a checklist of items your child needs to complete before getting behind the wheel. Remind your child regularly that habits will become second nature and safety will always be the number one priority.

Kalyn Johnson writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, AutoInsurance.org. Kalyn has over nine years of experience in the auto claims department and enjoys sharing her knowledge of keeping people safe while saving money on premium costs.