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4 free apps that prevent your teenager from texting and driving

Teens learning to drive, eventually going out on their own with newly acquired licenses and adventures, can be a fantastic (and equally frantic) “rite of passage” moment for both teens and parents. This is a critical time in a teen’s journey. Learning vital life skills, improving overall driving performance and adapting to uncertain situations are but a few of the valuable lessons your teens will learn. It’s during this time that parents may want to discuss the dangers of teenagers texting and driving, and the consequences involved with committing such an offense.

Teens using cell phones is simply part of life in a digital world, or so it would seem. It’s how they stay connected to just about everything, including their parents. While having a charged, working cellphone when away from the house is an important thing, keeping your teen free of that distraction while driving can prove difficult with the same cell phone on their person. Before you send them off on their own, parents may want to consider adding a little extra security to their teen’s cellphones to monitor or deter them from using their phones while behind the wheel. If your teen is a new driver, and you’re looking for solutions to stop texting and driving, there are 4 excellent apps you can use in your efforts to keep your teen alert while driving.

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4 Apps to Stop Teenagers From Texting and Driving

AT&T DriveMode

The first app on our list, AT&T DriveMode, is one of the most popular and most downloaded apps in its category. Keeping kids safe on the road is an important and key task for parents. It can, however, prove difficult to achieve if parents are not present while their teen is driving. Thanks to AT&T, your teen driver can now be completely distraction-free while behind the wheel. This free app — available to both iOS and Android users regardless of carrier — immediately goes into effect when the car begins to move. The app silences all incoming calls and notifications, and it conveniently auto-responds to text messages with an automated response notifying the sender that the receiver is currently driving safely and will respond once they reach their destination.

Lifesaver

For teens who may need a little extra protection or who may balk at the idea of a driving app being installed on their device, Lifesaver may be the appropriate app. Lifesaver requires nothing more than an installation on your teen’s phone, so there’s no logging in before each use. This easy-to-use, user-friendly, free app blocks phone usage while driving is detected. Once the driver reaches their destination and the car stops moving, the app will automatically unlock and permit usage once again. Not only does this app deter teens from using their phones behind the wheel, but it also prevents parents and kids from distracting one another and alerts parents that their teen has safely arrived at their endpoint.

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HUM

This free-to-use app, created by Verizon, allows parents the opportunity to safely monitor their child’s driving speed and pinpoint the vehicle’s exact location. HUM also provides roadside assistance, stolen vehicle response, as well as notifications of speeding, unsafe driving and detects possible crashes should they occur. Available as an OBD plug, free phone app or installed speaker, HUM is a great choice to monitor and track your vehicle’s location and speed, protecting your kids and yourselves. Additionally, you can track all driver history, and compare the diagnostics to determine overall safety performance.

Down For The Count

If your teen responds well to positive reinforcement, Down For The Count may be the perfect app to use in combatting the distractions of texting and driving. In less than 60 seconds, teens and parents can come up with a plan for distracted-free driving and a pretty sweet reward system once a goal of no-distraction driving is achieved. A sponsor is chosen – usually a parent or other family member – and a goal amount of time is chosen. If the driver earns the selected number of hours totally distraction-free while driving, the selected reward is earned and applied. Once installed, the app can be opened before the user leaves their starting point, and if the time spent behind the wheel is free of distractions, the user is awarded the amount of time spent driving. The app tracks the car’s movement and any phone usage and alerts the sponsor should the driver be tempted. Rewards include various digital gift cards.

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From totally blocking usage to encouraging safe driving with rewards, this list of the top 4 favorite driving safety apps has something for everyone and every parent, no matter their child’s strengths or weaknesses. Distracted driving is unsafe and causes accidents – some of which can result in the loss of life. No parent wants to face the tragic consequences of unsafe driving, so encouraging teen drivers to put down their phones and pay attention to their surroundings could save a life or two, while tightening the bond between parent and child. Being open and honest with your kids about the dangers of distracted driving can open the doorway to other topics as well, so keep your ears open when your kids speak. And let them know it’s ok to put the phone down. No life is worth the risk.

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Emily Pidgeon
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Emily's work has appeared in the Tube City Almanac, Tube City Online and our Affinity Sites. When she's not writing, she is…
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