Can a watchdog on the road make you a safer driver? Whether it’s parents, other drivers or new technology, Americans are looking for ways to ensure teens are practicing safe driving habits on the road.
There is no doubt that cell phones are a major driving distraction. Several companies are trying to combat this by blocking phone calls and/or text messaging while teens are driving.
- One device is a key that is wirelessly connected to a mobile phone and, by Bluetooth or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, blocks calls and text messages from being sent or received.
- Another can detect if you’re driving over 10 mph and when you are, disables text messaging on your cell phone. This takes away the distraction of texting while driving at high speeds.
Other technologies that are aimed at keeping teens safe are GPS tracking devices, and dashboard cameras.
- GPS tracking allows parents to monitor the location of their teen.
- Dashcams allow parents to see what you’re doing while in the driver seat. Driving behavior is largely effected by distractions and this feature makes it possible for parents to be aware of distracting devices.
An alternative to expensive equipment is to place a decal or magnet on your vehicle.
- There are several companies who are trying to protect teens and other drivers on the road by placing a sticker or magnet on the vehicle of new teen drivers. The sticker alerts other drivers on the road that the driver is a new, teen driver, thus urging drivers to be more patient when near a teen driver.
- Another such company invites drivers to call and report reckless driving of teens. Much like the “how’s my driving” stickers that are featured on semi-trucks, there is an ID number and a toll-free number to call, that is placed on the back of the teens vehicle. In the incident that a complaint is made, the parent receives an e-mail.
Who knows, maybe there is a role for watchdogs on the road, along with good laws, good training and peer programs like Teens in the Driver Seat.