Blue Suit Mom

Gadgets and Apps to Keep Your Teen Driver Safe

shutterstock_117750040Just when you thought there was nothing worse than playing teen taxi driver, you realize you now are the worried mom of a teen driver. Is she texting while driving? Is that loud music distracting him? How many friends are in the car? The list of worries goes on.

New smartphones can be both a blessing and a curse. Previously, all parents could do to ensure their child’s safety was to keep up with car maintenance and teach them how to be safe on the road. But now, thanks to advanced smartphones like the new Galaxy S 5, which even monitors your heart rate, teens are able to contact their parents and emergency personnel in case of an accident as well as use GPS and maps in case they get lost. This can be a big relief for worried parents.

However, smartphones also come with the ability to text, play games and go on the Internet while driving. Thankfully, technology also offers solutions for these problems with a plethora of safe driving apps and gadgets for your teen driver’s smartphone.

DriveScribe

DriveScribe is an app that acts as a mobile driving coach for those times when you’re not there. It gamifies the experience by tracking progress and offering rewards for safe driving through a point system. Then, this can be cashed in for discounts and gift cards at national retailers like Amazon, Nike, J. Crew and Old Navy. The reward system boosts teens’ motivation to drive safely while also offering parents a way to track how their teens are driving when they aren’t there. If a violation like speeding occurs, the app automatically sends you a message alert. Additionally, you can log in through DriveScribe’s website to review stats.

Price: free; available for Android and iOS devices

Cellcontrol

More than just an app, Cellcontrol requires purchase of a small electronic device that blocks cellphone calls, messaging and other functionality when the vehicle is in motion. The device is installed under the dashboard or in the car’s diagnostic computer port. Settings are highly customizable, so you can program it to only block calls from the driver’s seat, or require all passengers to download the app as well. The software settings can only be controlled by authorized users through a web portal or app, giving parents all of the control over the device’s parameters.

Price: $119; available for Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows devices

Canary

This app offers parents a real-time view of what your teens are doing on their phones anytime it is used when traveling over 12 mph. You can establish off-limit driving areas, like freeways or treacherous roads, and the app will notify you if your teen disobeys. Canary also sends you a notification if your child tries to disable the app. Despite all of the restrictions, the app allows your teen to be able to make emergency calls in the event of an accident.

Price: free; available for Android and iOS devices

TextBuster

TextBuster uses a transmitter to deactivate the ability to text, email and use the Internet when the vehicle is in motion. The corresponding app is password protected, so your teen isn’t able to amend restrictions without your unique passcode. GPS mapping and voice call settings cannot be controlled through TextBuster, so this is best used if you’re confident in your teen’s ability to drive without being distracted by those features.

Price: $199.95; available for Android devices

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