As an accident attorney, I could not help but laugh when I saw this Close to Home comic. Throughout my daily work, I meet many teenage victims of accident cases, so I understand the importance of not driving distracted. Therefore, while this comic is funny, it also got me thinking: is there a better way for parents to ensure the safety of their teen drivers— without going to the extremes of this mother and her driving gloves?
Recently, I have come to find a surprising source of comfort for the anxiety that having a teenage driver may provoke: technology. Indeed, those same cell phones that can cause so much potential for reckless and distracted driving can also be a powerful tool that can help keep young adults safe and accident-free.
Last November, my colleague Jim Reed wrote a blog post, which can be seen here, praising the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for banning texting while driving. Like Jim, as an accident attorney, I cannot say enough how much I agree with that decision. I am, however, also realistic in realizing that, like so many adults, teens are often glued to their cell phones. Even though there are laws in place banning texting and driving, the temptation is still there. That is why many parents may find a recent USA Today article, entitled “Devices Target Distracted Driving,” interesting; it cites cell phone apps or other forms of technology that can allow parents to stop their teen from texting, surfing the Internet, or even talking on their cell phones while they are driving.
Inspired by the USA Today article, here are three tools that can help keep your teens safe:
1. Cellcontrol– available for $7.95 a month for up to six phones, this in-car port stops drivers from gaming, searching the Internet, and receiving texts and phone calls while driving. You can see a video of how Cellcontrol works here.
2. iZup– a cheaper alternative to Cellcontrol, costing $20 annually, this blocks cell phone use while a car is moving, even disabling it at stop signs and red lights, often taking several minutes to disable after a car stops moving.
3. iCar Black Box App– In the event of an accident, this 99 cent app acts as a black box, recording a video during the accident that you can then access later.
Indeed, today the phase “There’s an app for that” can apply to so many varied topics, including everything from pet first aid to emergency flashlights when it comes to accident scenes. I deal with many families with teens who have been deeply affected by the terrible physical and emotional pain that car accidents can cause, and I can only hope that new technology can help prevent similar trauma in the future.
Even if these tools do not work best for you and your family, I encourage everyone with teenage drivers to stay safe, talk to your kids about their driving habits, and keep up to date with New York State teen driving laws.
No matter how you choose to protect your family while they drive, I hope that everyone stays safe this winter— preferably without having to wear “no-text driving gloves”!
Christina Bruner Sonsire, Esq.
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, New York 14902-1338
Toll-Free: 800.ZIFFLAW (943.3529)