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4 Devices to Keep Your Teen Driver Safe Behind the Wheel

Updated December 5, 2014

According to the NHTSA, auto accidents are the number one cause of death for teens aged 16-20. Teenagers are four times more likely to be involved in an auto accident than older drivers, and less likely to wear a seatbelt. There are plenty of advantages to having a licensed teen driver in the family, but knowing how dangerous it can be will cause you to think twice about handing them a set of keys. Here are four devices that will give you peace of mind as a parent, lessen the chances of your teen being involved in an accident and quite possibly save their life.

My Key

 

The My Key system was launched in 2010 as a standard feature on the Ford Focus, and is now standard on almost all Fords. The system allows you to program a special key for your teenage driver that will limit speeds and remotely lock or unlock doors. It can bet setup to chime when the driver reaches 45, 55 and 65 mph, remind the driver to buckle up and warn the driver when the fuel is getting low. 50 percent of customers surveyed said they would allow their teenage drivers to drive the family vehicle if the My Key system was in use. By programming the stereo not to play while seatbelts aren’t fastened, and limiting the top speed according to the roads you expect your teen driver to be using, the My Key is worth much more than just peace of mind, it could save your teenage driver’s life. The best part is that since the programming is associated with a single key, you can automatically override all the features by using your ‘adult’ key.

Smart Start Interlocker

Do you suspect your teenage driver of drinking and driving? Teenagers who are upper classmen in high school, and college students are notorious for driving under the influence. The consequences could be worse than getting a DUI, so you may want to go ahead and install a Breath Test interlocker if you suspect your teen of drinking. These are effective for the most part because friends do not let friends drive drunk, so they are unlikely to help your teen circumvent the device. The device asks for repeated re-tests while driving so an accomplice would need to ride with them the whole trip, and if a sober friend is riding with them, your teen is likely to let the sober friend be a designated driver. The Smart Start interlocker costs about $2.50 per day, but your insurance will increase 50$ per month if your teen gets a DUI. That covers the cost without even considering the fines, cost to repair car damage, and I do not want to even upset parents with the thought of their teens injuring or killing themselves or others. If you suspect your teen of drinking and driving, revoke their driving privileges or at least install a Smart Start Interlocker.

GPS Tracking

What parent doesn’t want to know where their teens are? There are several different ways to use their mobile phone to track them, but most teens will know about this and also know ways to circumvent its effectiveness. The important thing to remember is that privacy is not a right that a teenager has when it comes to their parents. GPS tracking systems are relatively cheap, and can be installed with or without your teen’s knowledge. Accountability significantly reduces the chances that your teen will be involved in an auto accident. It is easy to give your teen good advice about which highways to avoid and to avoid traveling extensively in poor conditions, but without a GPS tracking system it is hard to make sure they listen to it. You can get a GPS tracking system for as little as $175.

Disable Mobile Devices

Some of the behaviors that lead to the increase in accidents in young drivers are inexperience, a tendency to speed, a tendency to drive drunk, and also engaging in distracted driving. Cell phones have become a large part of our culture, and odds are your teen has one. There are several apps available that will render your teen’s cell phone useless while they are traveling in a vehicle. I suggest Zoom Safer, which will limit the ability to make phone calls, send text messages and e-mails while driving. There is also an app called Wise Drive that will disable audio alerts for an incoming text, and will send a message letting their friends know that your teen is driving and can’t engage in conversation at the moment.

Eliminating distracted driving will significantly increase your teen’s chances of avoiding an accident, and once again provide you with peace of mind knowing that you have done all you can do to keep your child safe.

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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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