Technology can have its downsides, but sometimes it is really helpful.
One helpful task which can now be accomplished thanks to cell phones is parental tracking of their teenaged drivers. Okay, maybe the teens won’t think it’s very helpful, but it’s a nice tool for parents to have for peace of mind with new young drivers in the family.
As the saying goes, “There’s an app for that.” Here are a few parents should consider.
The Life360 Plans are an option available for use with an app. Parents and teens both add the app to their phones.
It detects when the phone is in motion, and it keeps track of the top speed driven, any occurrences of hard braking or rapid acceleration, and any times the phone is in use for every trip. Parents can set it up to send a push notification when their teen has completed a trip, and lets them see a map that shows the destination.
As a big plus for parents’ peace of mind, this app provides crash detection. They also include emergency dispatch when a crash is detected and roadside assistance on their two more expensive plans. If a driver is traveling 25 mph or faster and is involved in a collision, the app will notify emergency services with the location and also alert family members. The plan also provides roadside assistance.
The app produces a weekly driver report summary.
Plans range from $4.17-$16.17 per month if paid annually and from $4.99-$19.99 per month if billed monthly.
The EverDrive app provides a score after each trip. The idea is to encourage friendly competition for high scores, like in a game.
The drivers lose points for things like:
- Braking too hard
- Taking corners too fast
- Accelerating too quickly
- Using the phone while driving
Any friend or family member who installs the app on their phone can join the competition.
In addition to the overall score (maximum is 100), this app provides the reasons the score was reduced. The idea is to educate the drivers on how to become better drivers over time by earning higher scores.
One important note – teens can indicate in the app that they are riding with a friend or in an Uber so that driver’s performance doesn’t count against them – but that means they can disable the scoring at will, so ‘parents beware.’ For this app, the destination is not tracked to share with anyone else.
This app is offered by EverQuote insurance, and as an added bonus they mention that safe drivers may qualify for lower insurance rates.
Verizon offers a different approach. Their Hum+ and HumX services do use a smartphone app, but they also use a small device which plugs into your car or truck’s OBD connector. You can check to make sure your teen’s vehicle will work with Hum here, but most vehicles manufactured since 1996 will work.
Hum+ includes 24/7 roadside assistance, crash response and other tools for checking your car’s health. It works with Google Assistant. It has an equipment charge starting at $29.99 and a monthly subscription starting at $10.
HumX adds to that with an in-car Wi-Fi Hotspot and Hum Speaker, and it has Google Assistant built in. The equipment charge starts at $69.99 and the monthly subscription starts at $15.
Both the Hum+ and HumX have an online activation fee of $20.
Most helpful to parents is that the Hum apps allow you to share information like vehicle data, location, reminders, alerts, etc. among all family members – even those who do not have a Hum device. So you can get a single Hum device for each teen’s vehicle, but share what you need to know to the parents’ phones.
At Carrigan & Anderson, we don’t sell car insurance or mobile apps. We do, however, sometimes have to help parents deal with the consequences of teen driver accidents. We’d rather help you avoid such issues in the first place.
But if your teen, or you, has been involved in a driving accident, know that we are here to help. You can call us at 361-980-6150 or reach us through the contact form here on this website.