We’ve never met a parent who isn’t nervous about their teenager reaching driving age. And their fears are legitimate. The CDC reports that:
- Teens are more likely than older drivers to speed.
- Teens are least likely to wear seat belts.
- Teens are most likely to crash during the first few months of licensure.
- The presence of passengers increases the risk of teen driving accidents.
That’s why researchers at the University of Minnesota have spent the last ten years developing a smartphone app that could help keep your teen driver safe on the road.
The Teen Driver Support System (TTDS) app tracks risky driving behavior such as:
- Rolling through stop signs
- Failing to buckle up, and
- Braking hard
It then alerts parents to their teen’s hazardous driving so they can talk to their son or daughter about driving more safely.
Many parents, however, are less concerned about speeding and running red lights and more concerned about their child texting or accessing social media on their smartphone while driving.
After all, Minnesotans for Safe Driving, a St Louis Park nonprofit reported that in 2013 alone, 38 teens were killed in car crashes with “driver inattention/distraction” cited as a leading cause.
That’s why many parents’ favorite feature of the new app is that it prevents teens from using their phones or texting while driving (except for calling 911).
The latest research has showed that teens who have spent the last 12 months driving with this app were less likely to engage in risky behavior than teens without. When the parents were asked what they thought, 90% said they would recommend the app to other parents.
So by now you might be thinking, “Where can I get this for my teen driver?”
Unfortunately, the app is not yet commercially available. The U’s Office for Technology Commercialization is studying the system in hopes it can be made available by the end of the year.
Information summarized from Star Tribune article: “App developed at University of Minnesota alerts teens, parents to risky driving”