Top Six Latest Automotive Tech that will Keep Your Teen Drivers Safe

by James Murdock
Automotive Tech Keeping Your Teen Drivers Safe
When images and headlines of teenagers involved in fatal car accidents flash across the news, my heart always hurts for the parents who have been blind-sided by an unimaginable tragedy. As a parent to a new teen driver, I'm worried that my daughter's safety is not in my hands anymore.

For several months after she started driving, I said a quick prayer every time she got behind the wheel, stayed up late on Friday and Saturday nights until she entered the front door, and demanded that she texted me when she arrived and departed the pre-approved destination.

The following statistics often came to mind when I was teaching her how to drive, and the scary facts were certainly not helping me stay in peace.

Facts About Teen Driving

  • When a teen is driving between the hours of 9 pm and 6 am, he/she is 40 percent more likely to be involved in an car accident.
  • The age at which teens are more likely to be in a vehicle crash is 16 years old.
  • In 2010, an alarming 33 percent of deaths among teens between the ages of 13 and 19 were due to severe car crashes.
  • The primary factor in teen car accident fatalities is speed and distractions.

 

The good news is that almost all of these accidents are preventable, but after hearing about so many fatalities by teen drivers, I wondered if I would ever stop worrying about my daughter driving. Don't get me wrong, my daughter has always driven responsibly. I give her two thumbs up for keeping her phone in a purse while driving, checking all of the blind spots before changing lanes, and driving the speed limit most of the time. Despite her safe driving habits, this particular milestone is still risky in my mind.

Accidents are preventable

About a month ago, one of my good friends informed me about the importance of utilizing new teen driver technology to promote good driving habits among young drivers. I had no idea that there are several car manufacturers who have introduced these high-tech systems into their new car models.

Along with offering useful features such as automatic parking and blind spot assistance, some automakers are producing vehicles that are equipped with technology to protect new teen drivers. If you are not in the position to buy a new vehicle, the third party apps for smartphones and even the devices that connect to your car can also ensure the safety of your young driver.

Following a nearly three hour conversation about teen driver technology, my friend presented me with all of the high tech options that would help keep my daughter safe while she is driving. My daughter and I performed a lot of research, and we are excited to share our findings with you. Continue reading to learn more about the best teen driver technology on the market.

Teen Tech Driving Tools from Car Makers

Ford MyKey

Ford Drive Safe - My Key

Created by Ford, the MyKey technology can play an important role in helping you to teach your teen to drive responsibly. When your young driver is operating the vehicle, the system can perform tasks such as directing all incoming phone calls to voicemail, chiming repeatedly until the front seat belts are fastened, and ensuring that the car doesn't surpass a preset top speed.

Along with executing these important features, MyKey also prohibits your teen from disabling the blind spot assistance and forward collision alert. To activate the system, simply program your teen's key to a restricted driving mode setting. The MyKey technology has six primary features to assist teens with maintaining good driving habits.

  • The Belt Minder : In order to make sure that your teenager is buckled up at all times, the belt minder chimes every 30 seconds until the front passengers fasten their seat belts. Because the audio is also muted when the belt minder chimes, your teen is sure to hear the reminder before he/she starts driving without a seatbelt.

    Before entering the school building, my daughter often unbuckles her seatbelt and sits in the student parking lot listening to music. When the belt minder is activated, my mind will be at ease knowing that she can't listen to the radio without her seatbelt on even if she's not driving.


  • Top Speed Settings : When MyKey is in use, the system can be programmed to prohibit the vehicle from reaching one of the four different speeds: 65, 70, 75 or 80 mph. Once the top speed setting is activated, your teen driver won't be able to accelerate pass the chosen speed limit no matter how hard he/she tries. Since the ultimate purpose of the top speed settings is to prevent reckless young drivers, I think 75 mph is a realistic top speed for teens who are driving in urban or rural areas.

  • Screening Radio Content : If your teen's car is equipped with Sirius Satellite Radio, the screening radio content feature can block any explicit songs from playing while he/she is driving. In addition, you will be able to set the volume to a desired maximum.

  • Low Fuel Warning : The MyKey System can ease your nerves by ensuring that your teen driver never runs out of gas or returns your car back to you with a quarter of a tank left. Simply program the system to provide a low fuel warning a few miles before the tank is empty.

  • Do Not Disturb : The do not disturb feature can be activated to stop phone calls and text messages from showing up on the display when your teen is driving.

  • Geographic Parameters : MyKey can also be programmed to warn your teen driver that he/she is driving in restricted areas.

Chevrolet Teen Driver

Cheyrolet Teen Safety Technology
When it comes to promoting safe driving habits among teens, Chevrolet is also a leader in this movement. The company has equipped many of its newer models with Teen Driver, which is a built-in system that is designed to assist you with coaching your new driver.

As a forerunner in the car industry, Chevy is also the first automaker to offer an in-vehicle report card to monitor your teen’s driving over time. To encourage good driving habits while teens are behind the wheel, the company offers Teen Driver technology on most of its models including Malibu, Cruze, Tahoe, Suburban, Traverse, Colorado, and more. Here are some of the features that I love about the system.

  • Speed Alert : Many vehicle accidents are caused by speeding. So how can you ensure that your teen drives the speed limit? Because of Teen Driver Technology, you can program a maximum speed limit between 40 and 75 mph. Whenever your teen surpasses the speed value that was set, he/she will receive a visual and audio alert. The incidence will also be recorded in the in-vehicle report card.

  • Volume Limit & Radio Mute : When I was teaching my teen how to drive, I made sure that I prohibited loud distracting music while he was driving. If you are anything like me, you want your teen to focus on the road instead of his/her loud music. Chevrolet’s Teen Driver Technology provides you with the opportunity to set a volume limit that your teen has to abide to while driving.

    Do you have to constantly remind your teen to buckle up before driving? If so, you will love the radio mute feature. When the passengers in the front seat have not fastened their seatbelts, the system with mute the radio until everyone is buckled up.


  • In-Vehicle Report Card : The Teen Driver In-Vehicle Report Card will help you monitor your teen’s driving appropriately. The report card will track important information such as the distance driven, anti-lock brake events, tailgating notifications, over-speed warnings, maximum speed reached, forward collision alerts, and much more. After viewing the in-vehicle report card, you can help your teen improve his/her driving by correcting problematic issues.

 

Hyundai Blue Link

Hyundai's Blue Link

For the past few years, Hyundai has been proud to offer Blue Link, which is a system with many safeguards to monitor your teen driver. Based on the fact that teens take fewer risks when driving with monitoring devices, the technology encourages your teen to have great driving habits when you set limits on the car's speed, incoming communications, hours of operation, and more.

Contrary to many other teen driver technology, Blue Link will notify you via email, text, or a phone call if your teen drives the programmed vehicle outside of the parameters that you have set. In addition, your young driver will receive notifications on the car's dashboard.

Since Hyundai's primary goal is to provide your teen with a safe driving experience, the company has included Blue Link in most of its car models including Sonata, Genesis Coupe, Veloster, Genesis, Azera, and Santa Fe.


  • Curfew Alert : When the curfew alert feature is activated, you will receive emails and text messages if your teen is using the car outside the time interval that you have set.

  • Speed Alert : If your teen drives above a specified speed, you will be alerted by email, text message, or a phone call. I know my daughter tends to speed when she is late for school. If a speed alert was installed on her car, she should remember to slow down. I'm sure this speed feature will help your teen too.

  • Alarm Notification : The alarm notification feature is designed to inform you when your teen has pressed the panic button on the key fob. Blue Link will send an alarm notification to your phone or email as soon as possible as your teen could be in danger. Even if your teen pressed the panic button by accident, it's better to be safe than sorry, right?

  • Geographic Parameters : Blue Link allows you to set geographic parameters through MyHyundai.com. The system will send you an email, text, or phone message if your teen drives beyond the boundaries that you have set.

  • Valet Alert : I consider the valet alert an added bonus since this feature can notify you when your teen's vehicle is not within a preset geo-fenced area. The valet alert will definitely come in handy during Prom or Homecoming when your teen wants to take his date to a nice restaurant.

Third Party Apps and Plug-Ins

While there are many teen driver technologies for new cars, you don't have to buy your son or daughter a new ride with many bells and whistles to take advantage of advanced tech. Fortunately, third party apps and plug-in devices can work with older car models to help keep your teen safe.

So if your teen is driving an older model or a hand-me down, you may want to consider the following apps and plug-in gadgets to encourage safe teen driving techniques.

TrueMotion Family

True Motion App

If you want to feel like you are always in the passenger seat while your teen is driving, then this app is definitely for you! The app offers you the opportunity to observe your teen's driving habits by virtually joining him/her on the journey.

Many parents love TrueMotion Family because it has features that can set a speed, curfew, and perimeter for their teen drivers. As soon as your child breaks any of your parameters, you'll immediately receive a push notification.

Volkswagen’s Car-Net

Volkswagen Car-Net

Volkswagen has recently released the Car-Net App, which will offer you the opportunity to control and observe various aspects of your teen's vehicle via the Apple Watch or a smartphone. After you have synced the app with your chosen device, you can program speed and boundary alerts whenever your teen operates a vehicle.

If your teen 'breaks the rules,' you will be immediately notified on your device. The Volkswagen Car-Net App is compatible with models such as the Beetle, Passat, Jetta, and CC.

License+

License+

Compatible with both Android and iOS devices, License+ is an effective app that can assist teens with driving correctly. The app works in conjunction with a plug-in gadget called an Automatic. After you install the automatic to the car, the gadget can send important information to the app such as your teen's braking, acceleration, and speed across a span of days. As the parent, you can log into License+ as often as you like to monitor your young driver's progress.

Final Thoughts

While the many different teen driver technologies can certainly be overwhelming, the right high-tech solution will depend on your personal needs as well as the year, make, and model of your teen's car.

My daughter and I are still comparing our options, but we will come to a decision soon. If you are still struggling to find peace with your teen driving, it might help to write him/her a letter. Check out the letter that I wrote to my daughter a few weeks ago...


Dear Lovely Daughter,

As you become a responsible driver, I want you to know that I will be here to coach you through your driving experience. Always remember that the decisions that you make while driving can have a big impact on your life and others who are sharing the road with you.

The best drivers are cautious ones. If you are running late for school or an appointment, don't put yourself in harm's way by driving recklessly to get there on time. One bad choice can change the direction of your life forever, and it's simply not worth it.

Avoid talking on the phone and texting while driving. The person who is trying to reach you can wait until you can respond safely in a parked vehicle. Even experienced drivers aren't equipped to handle such distractions.

Although I want to share many more tips, I know that I can't always protect you. Please remember to listen to the alerts and notifications while driving. The teen driver technology has been installed on your car for a reason.

If you are ever in a bad situation, call me immediately, and I'll pick you up. These situations include times where you are too tired or tipsy to drive.

I will always love you no matter what.

With All My Love,

Parents

 

Mom

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