Posing proudly on the front page of the Sun Sentinel on Sunday morning was Michael McManigal, the creator of a new app that will allow drivers to offer feedback to parents of teen drivers. Purchasing the app includes registration of the teen’s vehicle to a database and a bumper sticker that reads, “How is my kid driving.co PUSH TEXT myTAG#.” Essentially, other drivers can send an anonymous text to the teen’s parents to report bad driving.
There is quite a bit of irony in this new app. This new app to report bad driving, induces a troublesome habit – texting while driving. According to the National Safety Council, texting while driving ranks among the top causes of traffic accidents – 1.6 million crashes per year are linked to cellphone use and texting while driving.
In fact, Florida state Representative, Irving Slosberg, who lost his teenage daughter to a car accident in 1996, told the Sun Sentinel, “What you’re asking people to do is text while driving. I applaud this father for doing something about teen driving, but I think it can be dangerous.”
McManigal says that is definitely a concern, however he hopes that drivers will be responsible and pullover or wait until they have stopped to send their text. With the trend of texting and driving on the rise, this hope isn’t a likely one. In fact, the whole concepts just makes matters worse – data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that texting while driving increases the probability of a crash by eight times.
The idea for the app and the applause it is receiving from many parents and advocates for highway safety, like AAA’s traffic and teen driver safety program, stems from these overwhelming statistics in Florida: teens make up on 5 percent of the driving population, however more than 9 percent of fatal crashes involve teen drivers.
It’s a slippery slope, but most parents in South Florida say they are anxious to register their teen for the program. One mother of two teens in Pembroke Pines said that she believes the app will reduce the likelihood her child will be approached by someone with road rage. Instead, they will simply text their frustrations to the parents, rather than creating a more dangerous situation.
In an effort to prevent traffic accidents and fatal car crashes, the U.S. Department of Transportation is leading a campaign to combat distracted driving. You can support this effort or learn more by visiting their website at distraction.gov.
Only time will tell if this app is a much-needed solution in South Florida. In the meantime, weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below. Do you believe this new app will help or simply contribute to more accidents and bad driving – due to the necessity to text feedback?
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