Moms: How much is your child's safety worth to you? You probably can't put a number on it. Texting while driving is a serious problem - the statistics are mind-boggling. As of 2010, as many as a whopping 30% of accidents were caused by someone using a phone, and studies have shown that texting while you're behind the wheel at 35mph places you at even greater risk than driving drunk at the same speed. That blows my mind, I just can't wrap my brain around it. Our children have grown up immersed in new technology, and they are learning to drive with phones in their hands. The solution to this is two-fold - first and foremost, set a good example. Keep the phone out of your hand while you're driving. As of 2008 adults were just as guilty as our teens were, but those numbers are changing due to many national awareness campaigns. Second, invest in technology that puts you in control of your teen's safety.
For a mere $4.99 per year you can download the Ask Patty Mobile Tattletale app - this app uses the GPS in your teen's smartphone to determine when they're moving more than 20 mph (by default - you can set the speed threshold) and, if so, disables texting. Because we're sometimes passengers, the app includes a passenger mode and a robust suite of options that can keep you informed via text should your teen attempt to text or make a call while driving. My favorite feature: it includes a customizable auto-response text that will be sent as a reply should someone text in while the phone's owner is behind the wheel: "I'm driving right now, I'll text you back later." This simple message does two things: it lets the friend know that they're not, in fact, being ignored - because we do live in a world of "instant" messaging - and it helps spread the word about the importance of distraction-free driving.
For more information and to download the app today, visit http://mobiletattletale.com/askpatty. Plus - because sometimes we need it - it works for adults, too! Stay safe this summer.
Kaeli Gardner AskPatty.com, Inc.
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