These driving apps maximize safety for teen drivers and are motion-sensitive, block incoming calls, texts and emails, and provide parental notification when app is deactivated
Technology is behind the big spike in car accidents caused by distracted driving and people who are texting when driving.
Now, technology, is offering ways to make our cars more safe.
Specifically, there are now several apps that parents and teen drivers can consider to stop distracted driving for iPhones and Android cellphones.
These driving apps to stop distracted driving are also long-overdue.
- “Text messaging made the risk of crash or near-crash event 23.2 times as high as non-distracted driving,” according to a 2009 study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.
- The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that “dialing a handheld cell phone” while driving made the driver “12 times more likely to crash.”
- “The use of cell phones causes 26% of the nation’s car accidents,” according to USA Today.
- Distracted driving-related fatalities and injuries increased approximately 200% and 112%, respectively, from 2014 to 2016. (Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center data)
- Fatalities and injuries from distracted driving-related car crashes in Michigan increased approximately 50% and 47%, respectively, from 2015 to 2016. (Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center data)
- Distracted driving car accidents in Michigan increased approximately 70% from 2015 to 2016 – approximately 138% from 2014 to 2016. (Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center data)
Below I’ll discuss the driving apps I believe will best prevent – and deter – teen drivers from texting while driving and from engaging in distracted driving.
What driving apps can be used to stop teen drivers from texting behind the wheel?
- AT&T DriveMode: Once a moving vehicle reaches 15 mph, the app kicks in to block text and e-mail messages and phone calls, resulting in auto-replies to the former and sending the latter to voicemail. Significantly, parents can program the app to send them a text message if their teen driver turns off or disables the app.
- LifeSaver: After a vehicle begins moving, calls, text and e-mail messages are blocked from the driver’s phone. The driver’s mobile device remains in lockdown mode until the car comes to a complete stop at his or her destination.
- Sprint Drive First: When a driver’s vehicle exceeds 10 mph, the app will send calls to voicemail, silence e-mail alerts and dispatch auto-replies to texts saying the driver can’t answer because he or she is driving. The app also enables parents to monitor when and if the app has been deactivated.
- Cellcontrol: Through the use of a device installed under the dashboard and a driving app, this technology allows parents to prevent teen drivers from sending or receiving texts and e-mails while driving, using social media, playing games and/or taking selfies. If the app is deactivated by the teen driver, the parents are notified by e-mail or text.
- DriveSafe Mode: This app locks the driver’s phone while he or she is driving and unlocks when the vehicle is no longer in motion. There is parental notification if the app is turned off.
- Live2Txt: The app blocks incoming text messages and calls, notifying the sender that the driver is unable to respond at the moment. Parents are notified when the app is turned on and when it’s turned off.
- tXtBlocker: This app and accompanying website allows parents to shut down a teen driver’s phone while he or she is driving. It also allows parents to track and find their teen drivers and verify they’re driving safely.
What driving apps will be helpful in encouraging teen drivers to avoid distractions behind the wheel?
- One Tap: Once the app is manually activated – or it detects the driver is driving – it will automatically silence alerts and notifications. Additionally, it replies to incoming texts and calls to let others know you’re driving and can’t respond right now.
- Down For The Count: Teen drivers can start a safe driving pledge campaign where family and friends pledge money in return for the teen driver refraining from texting while driving or otherwise driving distracted.
- OMW – On My Way: This app doesn’t block e-mails, text messages or calls to a driver. But it relieves the driver of feeling the need to let friends and family that he’s en route somewhere. With the app open, invited “guests” can track the driver’s progress and receive notice when the driver has reached his or her destination.
- It Can Wait (Driving Simulation): This app doesn’t actively stop a driver from texting or talking on the phone. But through its simulation function, it endeavors to deter distracted driving by showing a prospective driver the dangers and consequences of such reckless behavior.
(Sources: “7 Free Apps to Prevent Texting While Driving,” Honkforhelp.com, April 1, 2016; “Apps that shut out distractions,” Consumer Reports, January 2014; “The best tech to prevent distracted driving,” USA Today article, May 29, 2016; “Best apps to block texting while driving,” Verizonwireless.com, January 24, 2016)