By Pendergast Law on October 20, 2016
One of the saddest realities that we face at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. is that many of our cases involve teen drivers who are injured or killed behind the wheel. While you can’t always be with your child when they are out on the road in Seattle, we found that some companies have developed handy technology designed to encourage safe driving for teen drivers.
Recently, car manufacturers have designed software systems built into 2016 or newer car models that monitor teen driving and help reduce distractions. For example, Chevrolet developed Teen Driver. Teen Driver silences the radio and Bluetooth-connected devices if the driver and passengers are not wearing their seatbelts. If the teen driver is speeding, the car’s computer screen flashes both visual and audio warnings to slow down. In addition, parents can monitor how their children did during the drive by reading reports that include distance driven, which warnings were given, maximum speed driven, and more. Other car manufacturers like Toyota and Ford have also begun introducing their own versions of Teen Driver.
Many tech companies have begun developing phones apps that can be installed on teen drivers’ phones that block texting, calls, game play, and web surfing while the car is in motion. The apps use location sharing through the phone, which is powered by the phone’s signal. When the car moves, the signal detects movement. This is how a GPS map is able to pinpoint location and movement. If the app detects the signal is moving, it shuts the phone down until the car is in a stationary position.
Another trick parents have begun using is dash cam video. While most dashboard cameras are installed facing the windshield in order to record the road in case of an accident, some dash cams are designed to face inward. This allows the parent to view the child as he is driving to see if he is distracted, texting, talking on the phone, or eating.
One revolutionary company has invented a device that will not let your teen driver start the car unless the driver’s seatbelt is buckled. Similar to how ignition interlock devices work where an individual with a DUI conviction must blow into a breathalyzer installed in the ignition before the car will start, the child must buckle his seatbelt before the car will start.
One of the best ways to encourage teen driver safety is free and requires no technology whatsoever – teaching your teen important safety tips and rules! Practice driving with your teen and stress the importance of driving without distractions.