Distracted driving killed more than 3,000 people in 2017. And young inexperienced teen drivers might be more at risk for being distracted behind the wheel; sending a text, talking on their Smartphone or even glancing at a GPS might be enough to take their focus off the road.
But mobile tracker software could keep parents in the driver’s seat when it comes to their teen driver’s safety behind the wheel. So how can a mobile tracker limit cell phone distractions?
Certain features can work in tandem with the phone’s software to keep teens safe on the road.
The best mobile tracker should feature:
A split second bad decision could be life-changing. According to statistics published by Teen Driver Source, which is affiliated with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute: “Distraction was a key factor in 58 percent of crashes involving drivers ages 16 to 19, according to an analysis of video footage of 1,691 moderate-to-severe crashes 6 seconds before they occurred.”
Before teens earn their driver’s license, parents need to be aware of the dangers and the seemingly constant lure of distractions in the car. While distractions can be everywhere—flipping the radio stations, turning up the heat or even looking at a sign on the road—cell phones represent a major distraction for teens.
Nearly all teenagers have a smartphone, according to Pew Research Center. Of course, these smart devices are capable of so much more than just sending and receiving calls and texts. Teens can watch videos, post updates on social media, snap pictures and play games.
And, of course, when a new social media update, text message or post appears, many teens receive a notification on their phone. So that ding, swoosh or beep sounds the alarm that something new has happened.
Sitting at home or elsewhere, those sounds are just the noise of social life gone digital. But in the car, that noise could distract a young driver, leading them to lunge for the phone so they don’t miss the action. And Fear of Missing Out (or FOMO for short) is problematic among teens now that social media and technology have become so prevalent.
Grabbing that phone while behind the wheel, sending a text while driving or even texting while idle at a red light could have horrific consequences. Younger drivers need to focus on their driving, not on their devices. One of the best ways to ensure that the distraction of the phone doesn’t become problematic is by taking away the temptation…or, at least, by limiting the distraction.
Parents can use mobile tracker software in tandem with smartphone software like iOS to keep teen drivers safe while driving. Newer versions of iOS offer a feature called Do Not Disturb While Driving that enables the user to disable the phone while behind the wheel. Anyone who tries to call or text will receive a message stating that the user is unavailable.
But, as many parents know, teens are extremely tech savvy. And they might find a way to disable this feature. So using a mobile tracker app also can be another way for parents to keep track of teens and help them stay safe—and accountable—on the road
Parents should look for a mobile tracker that features a GPS function. This feature will allow parents to see the exact location for any user. The biggest benefit isn’t just noting a teen’s location, but knowing where to find them in case of emergency.
GPS also lets parents see when a teen is leaving a location or maybe alert parents that their young driver is somewhere else entirely. If a teen’s car breaks down or if they have any roadside emergency, parents can track their exact location.
When teens are in the driver’s seat, they should not be sending texts. Mobile trackers should let parents see texts that a teen sends and receives; this could notify parents that teens have been sending messages while driving.
The best mobile tracker should enable parents to view both SMS and MMS texts. So what’s the difference between these two text types? SMS texts are basic short text messages, but MMS texts (acronym for Multimedia Messaging Service) include video and photo messages.
But both MMS and SMS texts shouldn’t be sent while driving! So whether that message is a funny video or just “LOL” doesn’t matter…they are both distractions.
If a teen’s cell phone doesn’t allow for parents to disable the phone while driving, then being able to view a teen’s call log may be important.
A mobile tracker should show the calls a teen makes and receives throughout the day. Parents can review the call log to ensure that teens weren’t talking during the drive. Of course, parent should have an idea as to when a teen is driving, so that unfair accusations aren’t made when reviewing the call history. A young driver could have pulled into a parking lot to chat (this is where GPS plays a role, too!).
Many mobile trackers feature alerts about social media notifications. Why is this important? Teens shouldn’t be sending or viewing messages from social accounts while on the road. So viewing a list of incoming messages from Facebook, Instagram and other social media accounts could alert a parent that teens are posting while driving, especially if friends are responding to a specific message.
A comprehensive mobile tracker will include numerous features that help parents track online actions of their teens, and these features are especially useful to help monitor actions while driving. However, no tracking software should ever be used without a teen’s consent or knowledge.
Distracted driving is a danger that parents must discuss with teens before they receive their license. And, ideally, parents should write up a cell phone contract that outlines all the rules for cell phone use, including prohibitions for using the phone while driving. But, ultimately, communication is the best tool to help teens make smart choices.
Parents can use software to help monitor teens on the road. WebWatcher offers numerous features that can be used to keep teens accountable for their actions and to help parents keep them safe.
Parents can view texts (SMS and MMS), incoming messages from many social platforms, call history and even deleted texts (in case teens try to be stealthy). Parents, however, should still talk to teens about why monitoring software is necessary and explain how it will be used.
Eventually teen drivers will become adults, and monitoring should help guide them towards making smarter decisions and better choices. If they learn how to avoid the distraction of that cell phone as teens, hopefully, as adults, they will know that the phone should always remain a silent passenger.