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A Free Mobile App That Helps Parents Teach Teens How to Drive Safely

Shepherd Center, in partnership with the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety and CapTech, has created the first mobile app developed by certified driver rehabilitation specialists for parents to teach their teens to drive safely.

The app, which is a free download in both the Apple App and Google Play stores, includes features that heavily support modeling safe driving behaviors for your teen.

                                      

Studies have shown that one of the most protective factors against teenage injuries and fatalities due to car crashes are parents who model, monitor and enforce safe driving practices.

Why Parents and Guardians Need AutoCoach

  • Takes the anxiety and guesswork out of how to effectively teach your teen to drive
  • Allows parents to monitor supervised driving time
  • Reduces risky driving behaviors by both parents and teens
  • Equips parents to teach teens to drive and keeps parents involved in the process

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • AutoCoach tracks the number of hours (day and night) that parents and teens spend driving together, as well as the weather conditions present during those hours. This is to ensure completion of the required hours of supervised driving (e.g., 40 required hours in Georgia). Parents can also rate each drive after each session. When driver training is completed, AutoCoach produces a printable driving log that can serve as proof of completion for your local Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • AutoCoach provides a 10-chapter curriculum for parents teaching teens how to drive.
    • Step-by-step lessons written by Shepherd Center’s certified driver rehabilitation specialists (CDRS) walk parents through the complex process of teaching lifelong safe driving skills to their teenagers. The CDRS used best practices to teach teen drivers, show parents how to optimize their time spent driving together, offer a diversity in practice and varied driving conditions – all in one mobile app.
    • AutoCoach starts with very basic instruction, such as adjusting mirrors and steering columns, and graduates to far more complex maneuvers, such as driving around big trucks and merging onto highways.
    • The app specifically targets major risk factors for teen drivers. These include overcorrecting, “fishtailing,” lane changing, distractions and speeding.
    • AutoCoach walks parents through a comprehensive list of topics and skills for their teen to master.

  • Our mission is to reduce the number of preventable injuries due to motor vehicle crashes among teens.
  • The purpose of AutoCoach is to teach parents/guardians how to teach teens how to drive safely.
  • AutoCoach aims to improve parental supervisory behaviors and involvement while increasing teen driver acquisition.
  • The app increases knowledge and compliance on graduated drivers licensing (GDLs) laws in the United States.

AutoCoach also aims to increase access to and decrease the inequities in driver’s education by ensuring all parents/guardians have the skills needed to properly teach their teen how to drive.

  • AutoCoach includes a graduated driver’s license (GDL) practice quiz.
  • To access the actual content of AutoCoach, parents/guardians need to pass a five-question quiz on GDLs in their state.
  • The aim is to increase parental knowledge of GDLs and increase compliance and at-home enforcement of various driving stipulations.
  • AutoCoach provides distraction notifications to the parent/guardian user at the start drive screen.
  • The content of the app was created for parents to read before getting into the car with their teen.
  • AutoCoach includes a customizable and printable parent-teen driving agreement.
  • The agreement supports accountability and sets limitations and expectations from the start.

AutoCoach is a mobile app designed for both iPhone and Android devices. Users may also download it to their tablets, though it will only work in portrait format similar to the way a smartphone displays an app. A tablet version of AutoCoach may be available in 2018.

Yes. AutoCoach is designed for use by parents and guardians of teen drivers nationwide in the United States.

Shepherd Center’s Injury Prevention Program and Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (CDRS), developed AutoCoach in collaboration with the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and CapTech.

Parents/guardians of teen drivers are the intended users of AutoCoach. Rarely are parents/guardians trained to teach their teen to safely operate and maintain an automobile. Studies have shown that one of the most protective factors against teenage injuries and fatalities due to car crashes are parents who model, monitor and enforce safe driving practices (Yang et al, 2013).

Yes, you can access your AutoCoach account using your log-in information on different devices should you lose your phone or a second instructor wants to access the same AutoCoach account from their device. 

Yes, you may add multiple drivers. You must add each driver’s information, including name and age.

The customizable and printable parent-teen agreement supports accountability and sets limitations and expectations from the start. One of the best practices for teaching teen drivers is effective parent-teen communication about traffic safety.

Graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws allow drivers to gain driving experience, while placing restrictions on the biggest risk factors. Those factors include distractions from cell phones/texting, nighttime driving and the number of passengers in a vehicle. GDLs have been signed into law throughout the United States (though they differ by state) to combat teen driving injuries and fatalities. 

No, you do not have to pass the quiz, although you must attempt it. As you go through the quiz, each question will be reviewed and the correct answers will be displayed.

The curriculum was developed by Shepherd Center’s certified driving rehabilitation specialists (CDRS), who specialize in adaptive equipment and vehicles, and are often trained as occupational therapists. 

Yes, you may review the content of all 10 chapters at any time. There is a task list that checks off each lesson once it has been covered.

The purpose of the driving log is to ensure your teen driver completes all of the required supervised driving hours, including night hours and the weather present at the time of practice driving. The information you save also produces a printable driving log that can serve as proof for your state’s department of motor vehicles.

No, the content in AutoCoach was developed to coach parents before getting in the car with their teen. To have parents comply with this approach, we have set up distraction notifications when the parent is at the start drive screen.

Teens are a particularly vulnerable population on U.S. roadways as inexperience coupled with risky driving behaviors associated with modern drivers often creates a deadly situation.

No, not at this time.

AutoCoach 2.0 is in development and will be made available in the summer of 2018. Check back here for more updates.

Should you have any further questions, please contact Emma Harrington at Emma_Harrington@shepherd.org or (404) 350 7559.

Why is there a need for AutoCoach?

In Georgia, between 2013 and 2015, young people ages 16 to 17 had the highest licensed-driver fatality rate among all motor vehicle crashes.

Georgia Driver Fatalities

  • Teens ages 16 to 19 are three times more likely to die in a car crash than older, more experienced drivers.
  • Car crashes are the leading cause of death for this age group.
  • Every day, six young adults die in a car crash in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Factors Impacting Teen Crashes, Fatalities and Injuries

Teen Driver Fatalities and Injuries

In addition to AutoCoach, what other driver’s education training is available in my community?

Driver Training Programs in Georgia 

Driver Training Infographic

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Keep your eyes out for AutoCoach, Version 2, expected to launch in early 2018. It will be targeted to parents of teens with disabilities.

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