App Lets Parents Keep an Eye on Teen Drivers

Parents can disable their child's smart phone when in motion.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    SecuraTrac's CEO Chris Holbert explains how his company's smartphone app can help cut down on distracted driving among teenagers, 11 of which die every day from texting while driving. Stephanie Elam reports from Gardena for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on May 7, 2012. (Published Tuesday, May 8, 2012)

    The latest statistics are raising new concerns about the habits of young drivers, and now parents can use a mobile phone app to keep their teens safe as the U.S. marks Teen Safe Driving Month.

    Distracted driving is dangerous, even more so when it's an inexperienced teenager behind the wheel.

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    "Eleven teens die a day from texting while driving," said Chris Holbert, CEO of SecuraTrac. "And 45 percent openly admit that they text and drive."

    Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for American teens, and the risk increases when a teen driver has other unsupervised teens in the car.

    The crash risk is particularly high in the first year teenagers can get behind the wheel.

    SecuraTrac has developed an app called SecuraFone to help parents keep their teens safe on the road.

    "That app just sits quietly on people's smartphones, iPhones or Androids, and when it's in motion, the Android will shut off distracting technologies like texting or email or Google or even Facebook and Twitter,” Holbert said.

    The app will unlock those functions within 30 seconds of the car stopping, Holbert said.

    Since most teenagers don't go anywhere without their phones, the app has added benefits like tracking teens’ whereabouts.

    "Speed alerts and things like that can also be simply set, so if they are going over a speed limit that you've negotiated with them, you'll know," Holbert said.

    What if a teen is a passenger in a moving car? The parent can enable the phone's capabilities via text message.

    Some of the basic features of SecuraFone are free but the full service is $8.99 a month.