As a parent, one of the most challenging moments is letting your teen be out driving on their own. Away from your expert guidance, they are free to make their own choices—both good and not-so-good. Some of the most critical choices your child can make involve driving. Talking to your teen about these choices will help your child be a better—and safer—driver.

Texting and driving

A survey of college students shows that nearly 80 percent of college students admit to having texted and driven, even though they acknowledge how dangerous it can be. New York state law bans hand-held mobile phone use while driving. At 55 miles per hour, texting can take your eyes off the road for five seconds, which compares to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.

Distracted driving

Beyond texting, distracted driving includes other activities that can take your attention off the road: eating and drinking, talking on your phone or talking to other people in your car, adjusting the stereo, or GPS/navigation system. In 2015, 391,000 people were injured and over 3,400 people were killed as a result of distracted driving.

Driving under the influence

New York has a zero tolerance law for drivers under 21 years: A blood alcohol content as low as .02 percent can be enough for a person under 21 years to face DUI charges.

5 apps for safer driving

Smartphones can be more than a distraction for your teen drivers. These apps can help keep your child’s focus on the road. All apps are compatible with iPhone and Android phones.

  1. AT&T DriveMode: Keep drivers safe from distraction by silencing incoming alerts and calls. The app automatically engages when it sees your teen’s speed has reached 15 mph and deactivates after several minutes when speed drops below 15 mph.
  2. Mojo: Teens love this app because they can compete with friends to be the safest driver. The safer they drive, the more points earned and the higher likelihood of winning prizes.
  3. EverDrive: This app automatically measures driving factors like speeding, acceleration, harsh braking and phone use.
  4. Lifesaver: This distracted driving application is designed to save lives by removing the temptation to text, email and talk on the phone while driving.
  5. TrueMotion Family: The app uses a rating scale for your child’s overall drive, and pinpoints exact moments where they may have been driving distracted. 

If you or your teen driver are in a crash and you feel the other driver may have been distracted, tired or negligent, it can be a good idea to consult an experienced personal injury attorney. They will examine your unique circumstances and help determine if negligence could be a contributing factor.