With 11 teens killed while texting and driving per day, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that parents are turning towards apps to limit their kids’ phone use behind the wheel. The sad statistic comes from Chris Holbert, CEO of SecuraFone, which offers an app for iPhone and Android handsets that diables some phone features when moving 5 mph or more. SecuraFone doesn’t stop there though: It also allows parents to monitor where their kids are driving and how fast they’re going.
SecuraFone was one of several safety apps featured on NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams earlier this week:
Note that some features are free while premium functions cost $8.99 per month; the SecuraFone site isn’t clear which are free and which are premium.
I’ve seen apps similar to SecuraFone, but this one goes a few steps further than most and here’s where the teens will really cringe.
If teens need to text for an emergency or some other reason, they have to use the app to send a request to their parents; a 15-minute window of communications can be granted. Aside from disabling texts, the software can use a handset’s GPS to track location, complete with a 90 day history. Parents can also set up a geo-fence boundary and receive an alert when their kids pass beyond the borders. And parental alerts are also available if kids drive faster than a certain speed. Perhaps these additional functions are a bit much for most, but at its core, SecuraFone offers some peace of mind for parents.
One of my kids is set to hit the driving age in 2013, so I’ll be giving these types of apps some serious thoughts between now and then. I’m curious: Are any of our readers already using one of these, and if so, what do the kids think?