As part of National Teen Driver Safety Week in October, teen advocates of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) Teens in the Driver Seat® (TDS) program launched Teen Driver, a new smartphone app created by MobiSoft Infotech, LLC. The launch was held at Creekview High School in Carrollton, Texas, and highlighted the app’s functionality, as well as TDS’s 15-year record of helping teens across the nation drive more safely.
In a recent study of more than 1,200 teen drivers in three states by Aceable, a provider of driver education courses, teens reported 72 percent of their peers driving distracted; 43 percent of those texted while driving. A landmark TTI research study published in 2013 found that, on average, texting drivers take their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. At a speed of 50 mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
“Vehicle crashes are the number-one cause of teen injury and death in the nation,” states Russell Henk, founder of TDS and manager of TTI’s Youth Transportation Safety Program. “About 2,800 U.S. teens die each year in car crashes; that’s the equivalent of a school bus loaded with teenagers crashing once every week for an entire year.”
Teen Driver helps teens drive more safely by encouraging them to leave their phones alone while driving. Teens start the app before beginning a trip, and — so long as they don’t access their phones while driving — the app logs undistracted miles at their destination. Teen drivers receive rewards for successfully reaching certain thresholds. For example, they can earn points toward the annual TDS Cup competition, an honor that includes cash awards for high schools that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to promoting teen driving safety.
“As a father of a teen, a high school senior, this is the number-one thing we care about when our kids get behind the wheel,” said Carrollton’s Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Steve Babick, who spoke at the launch. “There are many adults who could take to heart the lessons you’re sharing today.”
The Teen Driver app is currently available in the Apple and Google Play app stores.