When it comes to driving, teens are, in a word, the worst. They rank highest when it comes to traffic death and injury rates per capita, have the greatest risk of cellphone-related collisions – up to 80 per cent admit to texting while driving – and over 5,000 teens and young adults between 16 and 20 die every year because of fatal injuries caused by car accidents in Canada.
What’s more, the risk of injury when in a car with a 16- to 19-year-old is higher than with any other age group, teens are more likely to underestimate hazardous driving situations and be less likely to recognize dangerous situations, and a staggering 400,000 drivers between 16 and 20 years of age are injured in car-related accidents every year.
Fortunately, as scary as it can be to see your young driver hitting the open road, there are devices you can install to keep an eye on your teen when you can’t. Here are some standouts.
DriveScribe, an app that serves as your teen’s virtual driving instructor, is a speed monitor, text blocker, update muffler and call prohibitor rolled into one. It calls upon GPS, social media and a jamming function to block texts and calls, and will even tell your speed demon to slow down if they’re lead-footing it. Kids need only to click “start trip” before their excursion and “end trip” when reaching their destination to experience its effects, and to keep in mind that good driving is rewarded with points that can eventually be used to buy gift cards.
DOD Tech Canada, a dashboard mounted recording device, offers parents a fly-on-the-wall view at how their child behaves behind the wheel. It records on a loop, offers a built-in sensor to protect the current video recording should an accident take place, and features a GPS receiver that allows users to log the speed and location of recorded videos to boot.
Ford’s MyKey program is standard in 14 vehicles – Fusion, Taurus, Edge, Flex, Focus, Mustang, Escape, Explorer, Expedition, F-150 and Super Duty among them – and allows parents to set speed limitations, control radio volume, block incoming phone calls and hold texts using their Sync system. It also mutes the audio system until Junior makes a point of buckling up.
The ORIOGOSafe helps keep your kid’s eyes firmly on the road by preventing their car from starting until a recognized smartphone is placed in the installed phone dock. Once in place (the docking station also serves as a charging station), your child can answer calls over Bluetooth and with a headset, but text messages are a no go. Removing the phone is possible while driving, but it causes the user to be locked out of the system and means that the next time they attempt to start the vehicle, the device will require parental notification and approval.