Monday, March 10, 2014

New Technology is Tackling Teen Drivers Phone Distractions


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 21% of teenage drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2011 were distracted by cell phones. New technology may help parents keep their young drivers safer. The Kansas Department of Transportation is now recommending applications for your mobile devices that parents can download to monitor their child's phone. Some even eliminate cell phone usage completely while driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 25% of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive. Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves says it's imperative that drivers keep their eyes on the road.

"We're concerned about always distracted driving. Especially amongst new drivers, teen drivers that are first getting their drivers licenses, hitting the roads. We want to make sure their attention is on what they're doing," said David Groves, Cherokee County Sheriff. 

For parents who are concerned about their child's cell phone usage while driving, there's an app for that. E-surance has a device that can be installed in your teen's car and phone that limits the use of text, email, app usage, and phone calls when driving. 

"From a public safety point of view, I think that those apps can be very beneficial, because we're restricting the ability of that driver to be distracted," said Sheriff Groves. 

The Canary app has to be installed on a teen's phone and alerts parents whenever their teen is texting, Tweeting, or using Facebook. For adults who could care less about their child's privacy, the M-Spy Software app allows parents to monitor every activity on their child's phone. Sheriff Groves says parents cannot rely solely on technology to protect their children.

"Then parents, as with any issue with their kids, you know they need to sit down and have a discussion and really make sure that they're safe," said Sheriff Groves. 

It has been illegal for any driver to text and drive in Kansas since 2011. If you're looking for a greater incentive to keep your child safe, tell them they will have to pay the $60 ticket if they get caught texting and driving.