Teens overwhelmingly disapprove of this app, which makes parents like it all the more. Canary is an app designed to keep teens and young adults safer by discouraging talking or texting while driving, providing a a digital fence of approved travel areas, and other precautions to give parents peace of mind.
Here’s how the app works: Parents and their children both download the app to their smart phones, and parents set social parameters. Then, the app uses acceleration and GPS technology to monitor the teen’s behavior and transmit the information back to the parent. For example, Canary will let parents know:
The app does NOT disable the phone, but it does log the date, time, and location where the above actions take place. Parents can receive messages via the app on their own phone and by email, with complete details of their teen’s activities (including a list of call volumes, locations, and driving speeds). Canary also informs the parent if the teen disabled the app. So basically, the app gives teens no privacy for activities that could be dangerous, or which go against a parent’s rules.
The cost is relatively inexpensive: The app is free for a 7-day trial. After that time, there is a 1-time charge of $14.99 for a Lifetime Subscription, which covers up to 10 phones.
With distracted driving being cited as the cause of more and more accidents–especially among teens and young adults–Canary has the potential to be a lifesaver. It has only been available for about 7 months, so its actual benefit cannot yet be measured, but for parents who want to keep digital eyes on what their teens are doing, Canary may be worth a look.
To learn more–including information about which phones are compatible with the app–click here: The Canary Project
Here are some sobering numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
According to an article in The New York Times:
“The problem is unfortunately not improving over time,” said Ileana Arias, the principal deputy director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “If anything, it seems to be getting worse.”
Dr. Arias said it was unclear why there appears to be so little progress. One possibility is that people are becoming more reliant on and attached to their cellphones and hand-held devices, making them less likely to shut them off or ignore them when they get behind the wheel. The numbers may also reflect a need to create stricter policies that are implemented more widely and vigilantly enforced, like drunken-driving laws, Dr. Arias said.
The study also looked at cell phone use and texting in 6 other countries. In Great Britain, cell phone use while driving is against the law, and the laws are strict. There, only 21% of people report talking on a phone while driving. In fact, cell phone use was below 50% in all but one other country, Portugal, which reported 60% of drivers using a phone while driving.
It takes a single split-second of inattention to cause a wreck and change a life. For more information, visit www.DistractedDriving.gov.
To read the full article in The New York Times, click here: The Distracted American Driver
To read the CDC report, click here: Mobile Device Use While Driving
In North Carolina, it is illegal for anyone to text while driving, and for people under age 18 to use a cell phone while driving. Some experts believe that talking on a cell phone while driving should be illegal for everyone, including people who use hands-free devices.
That’s because talking alone–the act of participating in a conversation–is a major distraction. Studies have shown that people who talk while driving have a 4-times greater risk of getting in an accident–that’s about the same additional risk as drinking while driving.
Some people have suggested that video gamers might be better able to deal with the distractions of driving. After all, they are masters of multi-tasking: Many games require a player to talk on a headset, manipulate game controls, and pay attention to what’s happening on the screen. So maybe gamers would also be able to handle the similar tasks of talking on a phone, manipulating car controls, and paying attention to the road.
Nice idea, but it’s not true. Science has proved it.
According to an article in the News & Observer, researchers at Duke tested the hypothesis and published the results in the journal Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics.
“For years I’ve been getting (angry) at drivers on their cellphones nearly running into me,” says lead researcher Stephen Mitroff, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience and member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. “I wanted some data so I could justify my anger.”
His anger, he learned, is justified. Everyone’s performance on every task suffered while multitasking.
“We’ve all been talking on the phone since we were 10, and driving for almost as long,” says Mitroff. “They seem second nature. We see the data and think, yeah, but I’m okay. But then everyone can think of that horrible person they’ve been behind.”
May 3, 2012
Before it even had a chance to take effect, a Superior Court judge revoked the ban on using a cellphone while driving in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. WRAL News reported that the judge issued the cease-and–desist order Wednesday to await the outcome of a lawsuit hearing that challenges the ban and other town ordinances.
Chapel Hill town officials passed the ban by a narrow vote in March, despite the state Attorney General’s Office declaring the town doesn’t have the authority to pass the legislation, and the law was to take effect beginning in June. The law will make it a secondary offense to use an electronic handheld device at any time while operating a motor vehicle, punishable by a $25 fine. This means a violator would have to be pulled over for another reason in order to be fined.
The lawsuit in question, scheduled to be heard next Monday, was filed by a local Chapel Hill towing company and claims the ban “attempts to regulate a trade or business, but it applies only to limited counties and cities, and that makes it a local bill,” as stated an attorney for the company. Only the state has the authority to pass such law.
Distracted driving accounts for thousands of North Carolina Auto Accidents each year. That’s why the North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers with HensonFuerst Injury Lawyers ask that you never use a cellphone while driving.
March 15, 2012
While North Carolina’s graduated licensing program has been successful in reducing the number of motor vehicle accidents teenagers are involved in, it also has been successful in reducing the number of teens who get the driving education and experience they need.
Research from the Department of Transportation shows that in 2010, 28 percent of 16 year olds had driver licenses compared with 44 percent in 1980. The number of older drivers has also reduced from 1980 to 2010:
The number of accidents among drivers ages 18-25 has remained the same.
A new rule being adopted by North Carolina high schools requiring teens to pay up to a $45 fee to take a driver’s education course is further reducing the number of teens seeking licenses. WRAL News reports that some schools have seen more than a 20 percent reduction in driver’s education class size, forcing some schools to cut the number of classes offered as well.
Lawmakers have recognized the problem and are looking at alternative funding sources, such as a $5 surcharge on license plates for motor vehicles in the state.
February 16, 2012
In an effort to teach motorists in the Chapel Hill area about the dangers of texting and driving, a simulator was set up on the campus of University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill earlier this week that puts a driver through a series of obstacles while they attempt to use a cellular device. According to reports from WRAL News, the event, which was sponsored by both the town and the town’s police force, was eye opening.
One University freshman who went through the simulator, called DriveSquare, stated that it took her about 10 seconds in the simulator before she crashed. The University’s head football coach who participated reported not faring much better. Both stated the simulator helped them realize that the risk of using a cell phone behind the wheel far outweighs the benefits.
It’s a realization that officials hope more drivers will come to. The state Department of Transportation estimates that 13,000 are injured and 119 die each year in distracted driving crashes.
The event comes just days before a public hearing is to be held to discuss a citywide ordinance that would make all cell phone use illegal while driving. This would be in addition to the statewide ban against texting while driving.
A new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) shows that more teen drivers are dying on the road.
Researchers compared the statistics from the first six months of 2010 and the first six months of 2011. Results showed that, nationwide, the number of 16- and 17-year-old driver deaths increased from 190 to 211–an 11% increase. The states that had highest numbers of increased deaths were Illinois (+8), Missouri (+7), Florida (+6), and North Carolina (+6). This means that, sadly, North Carolina contributed to the higher statistics. In fact, our state had a 55% increase in teen deaths for the measured period. Overall, NC had the second-highest total number of deaths (17), after Texas (26).
This is a race we do NOT want to be winning.
According to an article in The New York Times, the trend has been a decrease in teen deaths over the years. That’s why these new numbers are frightening.
“I think it’s going to be a wake-up call,” Dr. Allan Williams, a road safety consultant and the former chief scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Mr. Williams prepared the report released Thursday. “What’s remarkable is that in the last few years, deaths in those age groups plummeted, so even a slight reverse is a matter of concern,” he said.
What’s even worse, past analyses have shown that more road fatalities occurred in the second half of the year than the first half… and overall motor vehicle deaths for all age groups declined 0.9%. This makes the teen death increase highly disturbing.
Troy E. Costales, Chairman of GHSA, said:
“As the parent of a young driver and a soon-to-be-driver, I know firsthand the pressures parents face in allowing their teens behind the wheel. As parents, we must set and enforce strict rules for our new drivers, making sure risks are minimized. This includes limiting other teens in the car, limiting nighttime driving and absolutely prohibiting any type of cell phone or electronic device use while driving.”
Wise words, but follow-through can be difficult. The education process doesn’t stop once a teenager has his or her drivers license.
What do you do to encourage your child to drive safely? Please post your thoughts on our Facebook page: (http://www.facebook.com/HensonFuerst)
To read the full article in The New York Times, click here: Fatalities among teenage drives rose in first half of 2011
To see full report by the GHSA, including a state-by-state chart of numbers, click here: Teenage driver fatalities by state
Wednesday, February 2, is Groundhog Day. Two important things will be happening: Puxatawny Phil and groundhogs everywhere will be looking for their shadow… and NC State Troopers will begin cracking down on distracted drivers.
According to an article on WRAL.com, nearly 58,000 people are involved in a distracted-driving crash in North Carolina every year…more than 13,000 are injured…and 119 people die. Got that? People die because someone is texting (even though texting is illegal), or talking on a cell phone, or reading, or eating, or adjusting the radio, or applying makeup.
“I see a lot of people driving with their elbows on the steering wheel, texting with one hand,” Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeff Gordon said.
Troopers will be conducting a two day campaign, looking for distracted drivers. They will focus on portions of Interstates 95, 85 and 40 from the Virginia state line through Wake, Durham, and Johnston counties.
It’s a shame that we need a special campaign to stop distracted drivers. People shouldn’t die because another driver decides to answer a phone call.
To read the full article on WRAL.com, click here: Crack Down
If you have been involved in a car wreck and would like to discuss your legal options, please visit the HensonFuerst Attorneys website at http://www.lawmed.com/north-carolina-auto-accident-lawyer.php. If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.
January 26, 2012
Several young people in Raleigh, North Carolina, are learning the hard way that you don’t have to be the person behind the wheel in a fatal accident to be responsible for a wrongful death. According to WRAL News, three teens and a young adult have been charged with crimes in connection to a fatal single vehicle accident that happened earlier this month.
The accident happened on the morning of January 7th on Rainwater Road in Wake County. The driver, a 16-year-old boy, and several of his friends illegally acquired alcohol for an underage drinking party. After attending the party and drinking for several hours, the driver and the 17-year-old female victim got into his Jeep to head home. Reports from the accident show that the vehicle was traveling at 75 MPH in a 30 MPH zone when the boy lost control of the vehicle and slammed into a tree. The female victim in the passenger seat died at the scene.
In the weeks following the crash, not only has the driver of the Jeep been charged in connection with the girl’s death, but also, so have the 21-year-old man who bought the alcohol for the teens, the host of the party, and the minors who contributed money to have the alcohol purchased.
Car wrecks are the leading cause of death among North Carolina teens, and crashes are surprisingly common. In NC, teenage drivers are involved in car wrecks approximately every 24 minutes.
According to research, the most common mistakes that cause teen wrecks are speeding, inattention and distraction, and failure to yield. And while drunk driving is still rare among teens, it accounts for some of the most tragic and memorable motor vehicle fatalities.
One recent example—Wake County’s first in 2012—is the death of 17-year-old Millbrook High School student Elizabeth Molloy. According to an article on WRAL.com, the driver was 16-year-old fellow student Garrett Prince, who lost control of his 1999 Jeep SUV while driving 75 mph in a 30 mph zone, and ended up hitting a tree. Prince could face charges of felony death by motor vehicle, provisional DWI, careless and reckless driving, having an open container of spirituous liquor, speeding, and possession of marijuana. Jared Sink, man in the neighborhood where the wreck took place witnessed the crash and pulled Molloy from the burning wreck, said what probably everyone is thinking: ”[It's] just absolutely tragic. To all the young people out there, there’s no taxi that’s more expensive than someone’s life.”
Parent/Teen Driving Agreement
Teens know that underage drinking is illegal, but that doesn’t stop some of them from drinking. They also know—in theory—that they shouldn’t get into a car with someone who has been drinking, but many of them disregard that advice. Why? Sometimes because the teen doesn’t have the confidence to stand up to peer pressure…or because they are afraid to call their parents for an alternate ride home…or because they don’t realize that a taxi is a viable option.
Those are some of the reasons why a Parent/Teen Driving Agreement can be an important tool. The University of North Carolina (UNC) Highway Safety Research Center and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol have created sample Parent/Teen Driving Agreements. It’s a formal agreement between parents and teens. It includes specific things that both parents and teens agree to do. Parents have found that driving agreements work well to keep teens safe when they first begin to drive on their own by making expectations clear.
The agreements are valuable once your child is old enough to be out with friends, even if he or she is not actually driving. An agreement should outline parental expectations for safety, such as never riding in a car with an impaired driver, always wearing a seatbelt, obeying the speed limit, and avoiding distractions, including texting, talking on a cell phone, eating, or applying make up. That’s the teen side of the agreement. The parent side of the agreement should given the child options for how to get out of a potentially hazardous situation, and outline how parents will support their child’s efforts to stay safe.
For example, agreeing that if a child ever feels unsafe, he or she can call home at any hour and request a ride home…without risk of punishment. (As much as parents might want to lash out at a child who has been drinking or at an unauthorized party, the goal is to get the child home safely. A strongly negative reaction from a parent might cause the child to avoid calling in the future, and possibly getting into a dangerous or fatal situation. That’s not to say that discipline can’t be taken for any rule-breaking, but the ride home should be calm and concerned—any discussions or repercussions should wait for the next day.)
We’ve done some of the research for you and attached links to three separate Parent/Teen Driving Agreements. Look at all of them, take what you like from each, and create your own custom agreement. We like the first one, from the UNC Highway Safety Research Center because it allows teens and parents to write their own agreement items in their own words—that means teens aren’t just skimming over the task without thinking. And any additional minute of thinking about driving safety is another opportunity to keep our children safe.
Sample Agreement 1: University of North Carolina (UNC) Highway Safety Research Center
Sample Agreement 2: North Carolina State Highway Patrol
Sample Agreement 3: North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles
Project Ignition, funded in part by the National Youth Leadership Council, helps students, teachers, and communities address teen driver safety. Students themselves design and lead awareness campaigns–every year, 25 grants are awarded to high schools across the country. The teams often find their inspiration from personal tragedy, but their powerful messages reach across county and state lines. Some examples of the kind of service-learning encouraged by Project Ignition are holding a mock crash on campus, and learning and applying the physics of crashes from a science class, including the potential effects of velocity and crashes on the human body.
This year, we’d like to congratulate the two North Carolina high schools that won grants:
At HensonFuerst, we’ve seen the devastating effects of car wrecks and DWI injuries far too often. It’s never pretty, but there is something particularly tragic when the injured individual is a young person who has barely had a chance to live. Our hearts go out the the family of Elizabeth Molloy, and all families touched by the catastrophe of a DWI wreck. We wish you peace.