5 Teen Driving Apps To Keep Your Child Safe

Help your new driver learn good habits on the road

Teen girl driving
MarioGuti/iStock

For parents, it can take years to really get comfortable with your child behind the wheel. Statistically, teen drivers get into more accidents that 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. Luckily, there are a number of driving apps out there that can help take care of your teen. 

Keep in mind, that in order for these apps to work they'll need to stay installed on your teen's phone. Be sure to set the expectation the app is being used when you hand your child the keys. You may also want to periodically check in to make sure the app has historic data from all those drives they're using it for and hasn't been deleted or never launched at all.

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TrueMotion Family: Parents Set Rules

TrueMotion Family (formerly known as Canary) allows you to virtually tag along on your teen’s trips and monitor their driving habits.

Within the app you can do things like 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.

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

Cost: The app is free for seven days, then requires a $14.99 on-time fee, which gets you lifetime access to the app.

Available for Android and iPhone

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Drive Smart: Automatically Launches

If you’re just worried about your child getting distracted when they drive, Drive Smart can be a great safe driving app to download. Once launched on your teen’s phone, the app will send incoming calls directly to voicemail and send an automatic response to text messages, which are also muted.

The Plus version of the app will automatically launch the app when it detects it’s in a car, and will notify parents of the app is disabled. You can also earn rewards for good driving habits.

Cost: The app is free to use. Points that you earn for good driving habits expire after two years.

Available for Android and iPhone

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AT&T Drive Mode: Silences Text Messages

AT&T Drive Mode is a free app that automatically turns on whenever your child is driving, and silences text message notifications (and sends an auto message to people who text while your teen is on the road) so there are no distractions.

In addition to being great to cut down on distractions for teens, lost of adults report using the app as well as a way to cut down on all the beeps and vibrations from emails and texts while they're behind the wheel.

Cost: Free.

Available for iPhone and Android

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Drivesafe.ly Pro: Hands-free Mode

If you’re just concerned about your teen holding their phone while they’re driving, drivesafe.ly will put the phone in a hands-free mode while in a moving vehicle.

Features of the app include the ability to read and send emails as well as texts, which can be a lot for younger drivers. If you opt to use this one, be sure to try it out with you or another set of eyes in the car a few times before letting your teen go wild.

Cost: The app costs $13.95 per year, and also offers family plans for $34.95, in case Mom and Dad want to use the app as well.

Available for Android

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Toyota Safe & Sound: Do Not Disturb Mode

The best way to ensure your teen obeys the rules? How's the fear of embarrassment sound? 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 he or she starts speeding, or tries to send a text while they're on the road, the app will swap the music playing in the car from theirs to a special (probably awful) parent-selected playlist.

Cost: Free.

Available for Android