You’ve seen the bumper stickers on semis and work trucks everywhere: “How’s My Driving?”
Now parents can ask the same question — about their teens’ road performance.
The bumper sticker and smartphone app are the brainchild of Cooper City father and mobile app designer Michael McManigal. For $15 the first year and $10 every year thereafter, parents register the license plate number of their child’s car on the website, howismykiddriving.co.
Membership comes with two bumper stickers that say: “How is my KID driving? Push Text my tag #.” Drivers who have the free Push Text app downloaded on their iPhones or Androids can then punch in the tag number and send their thoughts via a one-way, anonymous text.
“This puts a little bit of yourself in the passenger seat as a parent,” said McManigal, who came up with the concept when, on a long July drive home from South Carolina, he noticed all the “How’s My Driving?” stickers and thought parents could use something similar. “Once [teen drivers] leave the driveway and turn the corner and they’re out of sight, no one’s policing them.”
Just days after its official launch late last month, the program is winning both accolades for ingenuity and concern from parents and road safety officials alike. The fear (aside from trusting strangers to be honest tattlers) is that asking drivers to jot down a license plate number and text their thoughts encourages one of the road’s most dangerous practices: texting and driving.
“What you’re asking people to do is text while driving,” said state Rep. Irv Slosberg, a longtime highway safety advocate who lost a teenage daughter in a 1996 car accident. “I applaud this father for doing something about teen driving, but I think it can be dangerous.”
“It’s stereotyping. Not all teens are bad drivers,” said the Spanish River High School junior, fresh from getting a learner’s permit at the Department of Motor Vehicles office on Tuesday. “And if you’re texting about my driving, aren’t you being hypocritical by driving and texting?”
When Cutler’s mother, Hollie, expressed interest in the app, the teenager responded with another common concern: “If it’s an anonymous text, how are you so certain it’s not someone trying to pull your leg? It could be a revenge thing.”
(“How’s My KID Driving?”)
But single mom Denise Zoub, of Boca Raton, said she would appreciate any feedback, positive or negative, about her 15-year-old son’s driving habits. Though she’d give him the benefit of the doubt if he disputed a texter’s version of events, the app would at least allow her to question him about it — and let him know people are watching.
( Billy’s thoughts – If you have a teen driver in your home you might want to look into getting this app and of course if you find out your teen is taking risks that they don’t need to perhaps it is time to ground them from driving. )