Over the past decade, drivers have witnessed vehicle technology advance at an unprecedented pace. Between airbags and collision prevention technology, vehicles are safer and smarter than ever. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about young drivers. In 2017, over 3,000 teens between the ages of 15-19 were involved in a fatal motor accident, and nearly 300,000 young drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments for injuries (National Highway and Transportation Administration, 2017).
The primary causes of these deaths and injuries are no surprise to anyone:
- Speeding and reckless driving
- Distracted driving due to smartphones and passengers
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Drowsy driving late at night
- Inexperience on the road
New vehicles sold today have embedded technologies such as backup cameras and lane departure warnings that make driving much safer. However, these new features are not available to all and may even be inadequate in protecting young drivers. This article will cover 4 ways to keep young drivers safer on the road, 3 of which involve aftermarket solutions that can be added to nearly any vehicle.
“Telematics” is a fancy way of referring to Wi-Fi and GPS-connected vehicle technologies. The most common use for these types of devices is connecting a vehicle to a smartphone. After establishing this connection, telematics devices allow drivers to remotely control, track, and monitor their vehicles from their smartphones. This functionality makes it easier for family members to keep track of the other drivers in their family. DroneMobile is an all-in-one solution that does all of these things, ensuring that this year, prom night will be less stressful for parents and teens. (No teenager likes getting five “where are you” texts at 10:55 pm).
The DroneMobile app, first and foremost, works as an unlimited range key fob for your vehicle. If one of your family members locks his/her key in the car, anyone within your family can open the DroneMobile app and unlock the doors. This connected experience is possible thanks to DroneMobile’s “Family Sharing” feature, which allows vehicle owners to share access with family members and set different permission levels for each driver.
DroneMobile also provides tracking features that allow parents to keep tabs on a young driver’s location and driving behavior. Parents can set “geofences” that trigger push notifications whenever a vehicle arrives at or departs from a specified location. Additionally, parents can use the DroneMobile app to set curfews and speeding limits that also alert you when someone is driving too late at night or too fast - two common factors in many accidents involving young drivers.
Telematics devices like DroneMobile offer parents the peace of mind of knowing that they can easily check-in on their young driver’s whereabouts at any time. Teens also benefit from telematics in that they get a cool smartphone app that unlocks and starts their car.
2. Dash Cameras
Even if it has been a long time since you learned to drive, you remember one thing about the experience: parents are annoying driving instructors. On the other side of the coin: teenagers can be terrible driving students. These two factors make driving instruction an especially stressful situation on the road. However, dash cameras make it possible for parents to review real-life scenarios with their young drivers and to provide feedback following the parking of the vehicle.
Dash cameras are one of the most popular additions for vehicles because they provide the ability to record accidents or incidents on the road. YouTube is littered with highlight reels of drivers’ crazy on-road experiences. The Momento M6, for example, is a dash camera system that includes two cameras installed at the front and rear of a vehicle. Each camera included with the Momento M6 has a high-resolution, wide-angle lens that provides precise detail of what is happening around a vehicle.
In the event of an incident or close-call on the road, parents and young drivers can review the dash cam video to understand how to handle that situation more safely. Most dash camera systems have an onboard memory card that can be removed and inserted into a desktop computer. The Momento M6, on the other hand, features a mobile app that allows drivers to review their dash camera footage right on their iPhone or Android. This footage can also be downloaded or shared onto social media to go viral!
When adding a dash camera to a young driver’s vehicle, it is essential for parents first to establish a shared understanding of why that product needs to be installed. Parents should explain how the video recordings will be used for the teenager’s benefit and safety, and not as a spying tool. Most dash cameras feature a built-in microphone that can be deactivated to ensure some privacy for your young driver as well.
3. Backup Cameras
Generally, backup and parking cameras are installed at the rear of a vehicle near a license plate holder. Whenever a driver shifts into reverse gear to back into a parking spot, the backup camera will activate and display live video on a screen for the driver to see what is behind the vehicle.
Backup cameras have significantly improved the safety of both drivers and pedestrians, with 57% of drivers reporting to an Edmunds.com survey that they have avoided an accident thanks to a backup camera (2016). However, despite new legislation to require backup cameras on all new vehicles, there are still millions of vehicles on the road that are not equipped with these solutions. For parents with young drivers, while it may be financially responsible to buy an old junker for that 16th birthday, those vehicles will often lack a backup camera. That is where aftermarket backup camera solutions like the Momento R1 come into play.
The Momento R1 is an aftermarket rearview mirror replacement with a built-in LCD that adds backup camera functionality to nearly any vehicle, new or old. The Momento R1 looks just like a standard rearview mirror, but it has video inputs that will activate whenever you shift into reverse gear to park your vehicle. These video inputs can connect to any one of Momento’s C-Series cameras, which are all water-resistant, but vary in size and mounting style.
Some parents could argue that teen drivers should not learn to drive and park with the assistance of a backup camera, as it may create too much reliance on that technology. If this is the case, a benefit of an aftermarket backup camera is that it can be turned off by simply disconnecting the power to either the screen or the camera itself. Then, once good parking habits have been established, the aftermarket backup camera can be reactivated. That said, we feel that the benefits of being able to see what is behind your vehicle outweigh the potential downsides to over-reliance.
4. It Starts with You
Whether your children are toddlers, kiddos, or teens, they are always watching you. If you, as a parent, are constantly fiddling with your smartphone on the road or driving erratically, it is safe to assume they will emulate your behavior. Even if your driving record is squeaky clean and you have no reported incidents, the young drivers in your family may not be so lucky.
So the next time you’re ready to hit the road with your children, take a moment to set up your trip fully before shifting into gear. Look up the directions to your destination beforehand and turn on audio feedback. Activate your phone’s “Do not disturb” setting, so you are not tempted to respond to texts or notifications. Choose your favorite Spotify or Pandora playlist, press play, and put down your smartphone. Your children and those around you will thank you for it.