In 2020, nearly one in 10 drivers ages 15-20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted, the largest proportion for any age group. January is National Teen Driving Awareness Month, and UScellular is providing tips and resources for parents and teenagers about built-in phone features, apps and other resources to help prevent distracted driving.
“Mobile devices can be a great tool to enhance safety and security while on the roadways in many ways,” said Tabatha McKay, area vice president/general manager for UScellular in New England. “If someone is distracted by a device, however, it can quickly become a real liability. It is imperative among teens especially that safety protocols when driving are established and maintained.”
For National Teen Driving Awareness Month, UScellular is offering tips to help prevent distracted driving among teenagers.
• Establish your own rules of the road. A simple yet effective step is to establish rules and expectations with your teen. UScellular’s Digital Family Matters website offers a free, customizable Parent-Child Agreement to help aid in this process. Families can outline specifics relative to phone usage while driving – such as not texting and driving, keeping location apps active and other important details like curfews and nighttime driving limitations. Parents can even commit to abide by the expectations as well. These agreements can be downloaded, signed and shared – and edited as needed.
• Get situated before setting out. Mobile devices serve as a resource for music, driving directions and more. Before hitting the road, get connected to CarPlay or Bluetooth if able, then set the phone out of the way or use one of many mounting devices available on the market, like the Scosche 3-in-1 Universal Car Mount for Smartphones. Drivers should confirm sightlines are clear and their hands are not touching their device before heading out.
• Use Focus Mode. Built-in phone features are available to help drivers stay focused. Driving Focus and Driving Mode can be utilized on iPhones and Android phones, respectively. This mode uses a “do not disturb” feature by limiting notifications, calls and texts when driving. Individuals sending a message will see that the driver has silenced notifications or receive an automatic reply, depending on settings. Incoming calls are only allowed when connected to CarPlay, Bluetooth or a hands-free accessory, and individuals can ask their smartphone digital assistant – like ask Siri or Bixby – to read replies. Explore these modes to see all the features, settings and allowances.
• Take advantage of apps. A wide range of applications are available to help with location sharing, that can monitor driving speeds and phone usage, and even detect accidents. Life360 and Find My Family are two great options for download.
To learn more about this topic and how to utilize these available resources, visit digitalfamilymatters.com.
UScellular is the fourth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, providing national network coverage and industry-leading innovations designed to help customers stay connected to the things that matter most. The Chicago-based carrier provides a strong, reliable network supported by the latest technology and offers a wide range of communication services that enhance consumers’ lives, increase the competitiveness of local businesses and improve the efficiency of government operations. Through its After School Access Project, the company has pledged to provide hotspots and service to help up to 50,000 youth connect to reliable internet. Additionally, UScellular has price protected all of its plans, promising not to increase prices through at least the end of 2023. To learn more about UScellular, visit one of its retail stores or http://www.uscellular.com. To get the latest news, visit newsroom.uscellular.com.