High-tech way to keep your teens from driving while distracted
Published Thursday, November 7, 2013 6:00AM PST Last Updated Thursday, November 7, 2013 7:53PM PST
Texting and emailing while driving is so dangerous it ranks second only to drinking as the most dangerous driving habit. But despite the dangers,a new report has found many people are still distracted by their phones behind the wheel.
A recent survey commissioned by Ford Motor Company of Canada and conducted by Leger found 67 per cent of B.C.teens and 66 per cent of parents admit to still using hand-held technology while behind the wheel. It’s an alarming statistic considering a driver who is texting is 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident than someone who is actually paying attention and watching the road.
Several car manufacturers are now offering hands-free technology in their vehicles and the survey found that one in five teens is using that technology most or all of the time.
Ford is offering another option for parents looking to protect their teens on the road. It's called MyKey, and it is available in the 2013 Ford Focus, Escape, and F-150. The device can block incoming calls and send them to voicemail and deter text messages. It can also set a maximum speed limit and disable the sound system until seatbelts are buckled.
"A parent can take the main control which is the key fob and program it from within the car so that when the teen or other driver comes in they're able to use the other key fob but not able to change the settings," said Tracy Johnson, Ford Sales Manager.
If you do get distracted while driving, several vehicles now offer lane-keeping aids that gently steer the vehicle back into the correct lane when it starts to drift. Collision warning systems are also available. They beep to alert the driver when they're getting too close to the vehicle ahead of them.
There are also several mobile apps on the market that claim to help prevent distracted driving. Drive Safe Mode is $2.99 and gives full parental or third-party monitoring of all phones under the account. The person is then notified via email if the vehicle operator is using a device to text or email or if they attempt to deactivate the app.
iText guard is more pricey at $19.99. It also prevents users from texting while the vehicle is in motion.
The Cellcontrol application is free and it disables more than just your cell phone. It also prevents distracted driving by disabling other devices like laptops and tablets. The Textecution application is available for Android phones for $9.99. It recognizes when the phone is traveling faster than 15 kilometers an hour and disables the phone's texting features.
And finally, Vancouver app Text Deflector is available on Android and Blackberry phones. It's free and responds to your incoming texts while you're driving, notifying the sender that the driver is unavailable.