Teen Driving Facts and Tips Series: Distracted Driving

September marks the back-to-school season, and for many teens that means looking forward to the prospect of driving. For parents, that means a lot of worrying, preparation, and questions that need answers. At IQO, we’d like to help by offering a one-stop shop for all your teen driver concerns. We’ve planned out a series of blog posts to roll out over the next two weeks or so to cover all the basics of teen driving. We’ve broken our posts into the following subjects:

  • Teen Drivers: Distracted Driving
  • How Teen Development Affects Driving Ability
  • Ways to Save When Insuring Your Teen
  • Tips for Teaching Your Teen to Drive: The Basics
  • Tips for Teaching Your Teen to Drive: Complex Skills
  • Tips for Teaching Your Teen to Drive: Circumstantial Factors

Today we’re starting with Teen Drivers: Distracted Driving. As we are all aware, teenagers don’t always have particularly impressive attention spans. The new found privilege of driving is incredibly exciting, and gives teens a sense of liberation from parental control, but the lack of supervision can often lead to driving environments that are too sensory-stimulating. Teens are often easily distracted by passengers, music, talking on/answering cell phones, text messaging and objects or activity on the side of the road while they’re driving. Distracted driving frequently contributes to teen auto accidents, so as a parent, it’s your prerogative to set rules and restrictions for what goes on in your teen’s car.

Limiting the number of passengers allowed in the car is the first step in limiting distractions. Technological advancements are almost scary when we realize the capabilities they provide us; some insurance companies have electronic devices that allow you to not only monitor your teen’s driving tendencies by tracking the car’s performance, but actually control your teen’s cell phone capabilities while the car is in motion to prevent distracted driving.

Allstate has a program called Drivewise, which involves installing a small device under the dashboard on your teen’s car, and the device monitors how fast the car is driven, over how many miles, how long the car is being driven, and how often the brakes are applied excessively. The device then transmits the data it collects to create an online report that consumers can view. Not only does this allow parents to monitor their teen’s driving, but if the teen drives safely, parents can save up to 30% on their premium!

The other tool we mentioned is offered by Esurance, and is a small device that plugs into the car’s on-board diagnostics port, which is standard on all vehicles made after 1996, and easily accessible underneath the car’s steering column. The device connects with your teen’s Android™, Blackberry®, or Windows® Phone via Bluetooth technology after installing the corresponding app on the phone. Parents are then able to fully customize what is blocked on their teen’s phone while the car is turned on—for example, parents can turn off the ability to text and drive, but GPS apps and incoming calls from the parent’s phone number are still accessible (the tool will not ever prevent emergency calls from being made from the phone). For many parents, technology is moderately intimidating, and the fact that our kids are growing up with this stuff makes us feel like dinosaurs, but Esurance has installed a fail-safe feature—if your teen tries to disable or remove the app in any way, the device will automatically send you a notification to alert you. There won’t be any sneaky business getting around this tool, and no more distracted driving either!

Tune in on Monday for the next post of this series! Have we missed something you want us to address? Leave us a comment with your question or concern, and we’ll find the answers and report back to you in our blog!

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