5 Teen Driving Apps to Keep Your Child Safe

These apps teach your new driver good habits on the road

Teen girl driving
MarioGuti/iStock

It takes years for some parents to feel comfortable with their child behind the wheel. Statistically, teen drivers have more accidents than their older, more experienced counterparts, and while you can teach kids a lot while they’re learning to drive, you can’t foresee every situation they might come across while they’re out on the open road. If your teen is digitally savvy, as most are, a few driving apps can help you and your teen through this perilous period. 

TrueMotion Family Safe Driving: Allows Parental Rules

Screenshot of TrueMotion Family Safe Driving app

TrueMotion 

With the free TrueMotion Family Safe Driving app, you can virtually tag along on your teen’s trips and monitor their driving habits. With this app, you can see where your teen driver is and how they got there.

In the app, you can set a perimeter around where your child is allowed to travel, the speed they’re allowed to drive, and even when they need to be home.

Each trip your teen takes as a driver is graded on a scale, on which 100 points is the best score. The goal is for your teen (and you) to see continued improvement in the score as your teen driver gains experience and maturity.

If your child breaks any of your “rules,” drives above the posted speed limit, or texts or calls friends while behind the wheel, you receive a push notification letting you know.

The TrueMotion Family Safe Driving app is available for Android and iPhone. GPS capability must be enabled.

DriveSmart: Personalizes Feedback

Screenshot of DriveSmart app

DriveSmart

The free DriveSmart app is aimed at the teen, rather than the parents, but if you’re worried about your child being distracted when they drive, DriveSmart is a good driving app for them to have on their smartphones.

Once launched on your teen’s phone, the app reminds your teen to buckle up and presents them with metrics and information about each trip. Each category has a rating, so a low rating in the sudden braking category indicates a need for improvement, for example. This type of valuable and personalized feedback gives your teen valuable information regarding driving habits. The company offers option monthly challenges to prove whose driving skills are the best.

The DriveSmart app is free and available for Android and iPhone.

AT&T DriveMode: Silences Text Messages

Screenshot of AT&T DriveMode app

 AT&T DriveMode

AT&T'S free DriveMode app automatically turns on whenever your teen is driving and the car is moving at least 15 MPH. It silences text message notifications and sends an auto message to users of any wireless company who text while your teen is on the road, so there are no distractions.

Parents can appreciate the fact that the app notifies them if the teen driver turns off the app or disabled other safety features.

The free DriveMode app​ is available for iPhone and Android.

Drivesafe.ly Pro: Offers Hands-Free Messaging

Screenshot of Drivesafe.ly Pro app

Drivesafe.ly

If you’re concerned about your teen holding a phone while they’re driving, Drivesafe.ly put the phone in a hands-free mode while in a moving vehicle. It reads text messages and emails aloud in real time and optionally responds without the driver having to touch the mobile phone.

It takes a little practice, so if you opt to use this app, have your teen driver try it out with you or another set of eyes in the car a few times.

As of 2018, the app costs $13.95 per year or $3.99 monthly and is also in a family plan for $34.95 or $9.99 monthly, in case Mom and Dad want to use the app as well.

Drivesafe.ly  is available for Android and BlackBerry phones.

Toyota Safe & Sound: Do Not Disturb Mode

Screenshot of Toyota Safe & Sound app

Toyota Safe & Sound

As soon as the car your teen is driving moves, the Do Not Disturb features of the free Safe & Sound app is enabled automatically. Toyota's Safe & Sound app automatically puts your teen's phone in Do Not Disturb mode to mute texts and calls while they're behind the wheel.

It also monitors your teen's driving. If your driver starts speeding or tries to send a text while on the road, the app switches from their music to an uncool playlist generated by Mom and Dad. The app works with all cars, not just Toyotas.

The Safe & Sound app is available for Android devices only.