The Iowa Department of Transportation is taking bids to develop an application for smart phones that allows parents to track their teen’s behavior behind the wheel. DOT spokeswoman Tracey Bramble says once the app is installed on a teen’s phone, it would disable texting while the teen is in the driver’s seat and monitor their driving habits.
“It tracks things like speed and whether they stop at a stop sign or don’t stop at a stop sign,” Bramble says. “There’ll be a parent portal where a parent can log in with a secure I-D, so only they can see their child’s information. What we’re hoping it’ll do is start a conversation between parents and kids about safe driving.”
The app is to be called “Text Later.” Bramble says once installed on a driver’s phone, the app will create a trip log each time a vehicle is going more than 15 miles-an-hour. “What we’re hoping the app will do is disable the text function of their phone as the kid is driving,” she says.
“They will be able to, if they are a passenger, log on as a passenger, but their parent will be able to see if they’ve logged on as a passenger.” Bramble says the department also wants the app to block all notifications, so teens won’t be tempted to check their phones while driving.
She says they hope to make “Text Later” available by early 2014. The DOT is promoting the upcoming app this week at the Iowa State Fair.