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Technology forces your teen to stop texting and driving

Tue, 03/19/2013 - 12:19pm
Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor

Everyone knows texting (or Redditing or Facebooking or Tweeting) while driving is a bad idea, but that doesn’t stop people from doing it. It’s pretty easy to justify if it’s “just a quick text to my mom” or “a quick peek at my email.” It’s just as easy to end up in an accident because you were distracted.

The texting while driving statistics are pretty scary. It’s responsible for 1.6 million accidents per year (National Safety Council), 330,000 injuries (Harvard Center for Risk Analysis Study), and 11 teen deaths everyday (Ins. Institute for Hwy Safety Fatality Facts). According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, it’s the equivalent of driving after four beers and makes you 23 times more likely to crash. Plus, it slows your braking reaction by 18 percent.   

Long story short? It’s a bad idea. But how can you convey that to your teen driver? It’s a tough lesson to come to terms with when you’ve just earned your license or need to stay in touch with friends on a long trip.

There are plenty of apps to prevent or discourage texting while driving but none that seem especially effective.  

The ORIGOSafe ($279) is a cell phone dock that can be installed in your car which prevents the driver from using a phone while the engine is running. Upon entering the car, the phone with the ORIGOSafe cover must be placed in the dock or the car won’t start. If the phone is removed at any point, the device will flash a warning. After a set amount of removals — programmable by an administrator — the car won’t restart until the administrator enters a restart code. (Just to be clear, the car does not shut off on its own. Once you turn the car of, it won't restart.)

While in the dock, the phone will operate handsfree via Bluetooth so the driver can still receive phone calls.

If you’re worried about operating the car without the designated phone, there are two options: a short-term (3 minute) start for valets or service and a one-time emergency code.

This is a good concept, and it will make your teen (or any driver) think about texting because it’s not easy. On the other hand, it still allows phone calls, which means at the end of the day you’re still a distracted driver.

 

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