DriveScribe, a digital driving coachEnlarge Photo
If you're a parent, you know that having a teenage driver in the house can keep you up at night. You wish you could be with your kids all the time to make sure their inexperience doesn't have fatal consequences.
Of course, that's completely impractical -- not to mention unhealthy. At some point, you have to let go, right? But what if there were something to bridge the gap, something that could offer advice and encouragement to the budding driver and reward him or her for good behavior?
DriveScribe isn't just another text-prevention app -- though once it's installed, the Android version will block incoming calls and texts. (Not sure why the iPhone version won't do the same, but let's hope that shortcoming gets fixed soon.)
No, DriveScibe is meant to be more like a driver's ed teacher, sitting on the dashboard and judging your teen as he or she learns the rules of the road. The app keeps track of things like vehicle speed, sudden braking or turns, and compliance with traffic regulations (presumably by matching the car's path with GPS maps). When it catches the driver going too fast or running a stop sign, it sounds an alert, warning the driver of his/her mistake.
Over time, teen drivers rack up points for good driving, and parents can chip in their own cash to match those points if they choose. Eventually, those points can be exchanged for gift cards at teen-friendly places like Dominos, the Gap, and Amazon.com.
What's especially interesting is that DriveScribe allows parents to track their kids' driving in real time. Alerts will sound on the parent's phone if the infraction is serious, like speeding of blowing through a stop light.
At first glance, DriveScribe looks like a truly interesting app. For starters, it's free, which means that it's at least worth a try. The gamification element is cool, too (though we've seen it before), but what we really like is the instant notifications for parents.
Of course, we understand that part of being a teen is making mistakes, and micromanaging an adolescent isn't always advisable (or easy). Still, letting parents know if they've got a problem driver on their hands seems like a really good idea, provided they use that information responsibly.
Parents: does this look like the kind of app you'd use with your teen driver? Have a look at the DriveScribe website, and drop us a note in the comments below.