Do you think a smartphone app can help your teen become a better, safer driver?
PHOENIX -- Even though they know how dangerous it is, nearly 60 percent of high-school seniors admit texting or emailing while driving. The Centers for Disease Control released the results of the National Youth Risk Behavior Study in June. The anonymous survey was conducted last year.
Will England, CEO of a Minneapolis-based company called Driver Power, decided to do something about it. Enter DriveScribe. The app is designed to turn a teen's mobile phone from a distraction into a driving coach. According to the company's website, the app also "motivates teens to drive safely with social competition and rewards."
“DriveScribe takes the very device that is distracting most teen drivers and turns it into something that not only coaches them but offers a path to rewards,” England said in a news release.
“Research shows that teens respond to positive incentives. The DriveScribe platform is built on that premise. While the app limits distractions and monitors performance, it also guides and encourages teens to drive more safely by rewarding good driving. It’s a win-win: Parents get peace of mind and teens get rewarded when they drive well."
England checked in with 3TV's Kaley O'Kelley live via satellite Wednesday morning to talk about DriveScribe (@DriveScribe on Twitter).
"Car accidents are the leading cause of death among teens," he said. "And now distracted driving is a major contributing factor to those accidents.
"Sending a text message while driving down the highway is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field -- blind," England continued. "It's quite similar to driving drunk."
England said his company not only wanted to raise awareness about the dangers of texting while driving, but also to take action and actually do something about it. That's where the DriveScribe app comes in.
"The first thing we do, of course, is remove the distracting elements of a smartphone," England explained. To accomplish that, the app blocks incoming phone calls, email notifications and the like. On some devices, the app can even let those trying to contact the driver know that he or she is driving.
One of the key elements of the app is its ability to screen the driver's performance and share that information, including potential moving violations, with parents in real time.
In addition to real-time information, details are uploaded to the DriveScribe Web app so parents can keep an eye on their teen's driving patterns and then discuss those patterns to nip and potentially bad driving habits in the bud.
More than just a coach and a monitoring/tracking system, DriveScribe makes safe driving fun and rewarding. Not only can teens compare scores, they can also earn points that can be cashed in for gift cards -- and teens love gift cards.
The app is available from both the iTunes App Store and Google Play. You also can register online. There are both free and paid versions of the app. The rewards point system requires the basic, standard or premium version -- $3/month, $5/month and $10/month, respectively.
For more information, visit DriveScribe.com.