In 2013, teenager Ashley Kubiak was in her Dodge Ram truck, speeding down a Texas highway. She was distracted, checking messages on her iPhone. She didn't see the SUV until it was too late, and the crash left the driver and passenger dead, along with a child in the vehicle paralyzed.
Crashes like this prompt a somewhat novel question: Should companies like Apple stop people from using their phones, like checking messages and texting, while behind the wheel?
The technology to do it is out there, but it's not yet being done, and some people want to know why.
Voluntary apps can shut the phone down
Parents of teen drivers are especially interested in how to shut their kid's phone down when that child is behind the wheel. There's an app for that, but if you put it on your teen's phone, will they use it? The answer comes down to the individual behind the wheel. As in anything else, some teens will opt for safer driving, and will use the app, or simply not use their phones with or without the app. Other teens, however - as do adults - will succumb to the temptation of using their phones while driving.
Should mobile phone makers be held responsible?
Why can't Apple and other smartphone manufacturers take the decision away from the kids? Why can't they make their phones - or at least some of the phone's features - inaccessible when a person is behind the wheel?
In short, they can. They just aren't doing so.
And that leaves parents and others wondering why something so simple can't be implemented to help ensure the safety of people on the road. A lot of innocent victims are being hurt and killed every year because both teens and adults can't seem to put their phones down.
Talk to your teen about safe driving
As a parent of a teen driver, it's very important that you talk to your child about the harm that can come from texting and driving, or using the phone at all while behind the wheel. Your teen's life and the lives of other motorists and passengers depend on distraction-free driving.