4 Smartphone Apps that Prevent Teens From Texting While Driving

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Despite public service campaigns that warn against the dangers of texting while driving, many teens are still sending text messages while they’re behind the wheel. Text messaging makes the crash rate 23 times higher than driving while not distracted, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Texting is one of the 12 biggest dangers to teen drivers.

Most research that studies the prevalence of teen texting and driving indicates that about 40% of all teens admit to texting while they’re behind the wheel.

The majority of teens involved in crashes admit to being distracted by a cell phone.

Simply telling your teen about the dangers of distracted driving isn’t enough. Many teens just can’t resist the temptation to reply to a message while they're on the road. Although some parents tell their teen to shut their phones off while they’re driving, teens aren’t necessarily heeding that advice.

Installing apps on your teen’s phone can help prevent your teen from texting while driving. There are several apps on the market that perform a variety of functions that make it impossible, or nearly impossible, for teens to text while driving. Here are four apps and their features that you may want to consider using to prevent your teen from becoming distracted while driving:

1. Pull Over to Text

The Pull Over to Text Application provides an audible announcement that says, “Please pull over to text,” when a phone receives a text message.

Teens can pre-program an outgoing message that automatically sends return text messages to notify friends that they’re behind the wheel. At the very least, this app serves as a reminder not to reply while they’re driving.

2. Vokul

Vokul provides hands-free opportunities for teens to access their phones.

Vokul’s “always listening” technology means they can use voice commands to operate their phones, even when they’re playing music. Teens can request Vokul to read their Twitter timeline or Facebook newsfeed while they’re driving. They can also reply to messages with voice prompts or get Vokul to play music by saying the name of the song. It’s important for parents to make sure that using voice commands and hands-free technology will serve as a way to reduce distractions, and not serve as a new type of distraction.

3. Canary

Canary is an app that can give parents real-time reports about a teen’s driving habits. You can receive instant notifications if your teen is answering or placing calls from the road. You can also get reports that show you when your teen is sending text messages or using social media behind the wheel. Canary allows parents to set maximum speed limits and parents receive alerts when those speeds are exceeded. You can even establish areas where your teen is allowed to travel and receive messages when your teen has travelled outside of those designated areas.

The instant locator feature allows you to find out exactly where your teen is located at any given moment.

4. Sprint Drive First

The Drive First app from Sprint automatically sends calls to voicemail when a teen is driving. Email and text message alerts are silenced when the app detects that a teen is moving faster than 10 mph. In the event of an emergency, teens can override the app to call 911 or unlock the screen. Parents can also program the app to still allow calls to come in from certain people and the app can be programed to allow for Bluetooth and other hands-free devices. The app is free; however, it’s only available to Sprint customers.

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