Taking control of the driving seat

Posted by cellcontrol

You do everything in your power to protect your children – from the very minute they’re conceived. Being a parent is to worry, whether it’s about what foods you should avoid while pregnant or what chariot your little prince or princess is pushed around in when born; what on earth that bump on their head is from or why they won’t stop crying; will they get into a good school or will they have friends. Being a parent is all of this – and more. A good friend of mine once told me that the worry you have while carrying a child pales in comparison to the plethora of concern once born – because what was once safely inside you is now out in the big wide world, meaning your level of control is diluted.

Of course it follows, therefore, that the older your child gets the more there is to worry about, as the world and its possibilities continue to expand and your level of control must learn to compete with the multitude of distractions beckoning your offspring.

Enter the mother of all distractions; the day they turn 17 and are legally allowed to drive.

The hazard perception test, where – as if playing a computer game – you must click on any distractions while virtually in the driving seat, was introduced in 2002. Yet it did not take into account the main distraction now facing teenagers everywhere: the mobile phone.

According to Brake, one in four 18-24 year olds crash within two years of passing their driving test, drivers aged 16-19 are more than twice as likely to die in a crash as drivers aged 40-49 and mobile phone usage is often to blame, with one in five youngers admitting to texting at the wheel at least once a month.


Fortunately, society – on a global scale – is taking this seriously, the culmination of which lies in the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), who have – since last summer – been conducting trials into the driving test. The resultant proposals, which include asking candidates to follow directions from a sat nav during an ‘independent driving’ part of the test and replacing certain manoeuvers with real-life scenarios, have just been put to public consultation.

Others are also trying to prevent the incidence of distracted driving. Ford, in association with Brake and RoSPA, have set up a free Driving Skills for Life programme, aimed at helping 18-24 year-olds hone their driving skills, while both Vauxhall and Toyota have set insurance schemes which, using collected data on how the car is being driven via a black box, rewards young motorists for safer driving. The Young Driver scheme, launched in 2009 and sponsored by Admiral insurance and Goodyear tyres, encourages children as young as 10 to start learning the skills of the road, allowing them to gain confidence without the pressure of passing a test, with research showing that it dramatically reduces the rate of accidents, while Drive Doctors, set up by race drivers Mark Johnston and Stu Abbott, use their motorsport skills and passion to keep young drivers safe on the roads, working with more than 2000 drivers aged between 17-24 over the last four years.

“Having both raced in various forms of motorsport such as TGP Formula 1, European Drift Championships, Ginettas and the single seater Jedi Championship, we wanted to take these experiences and demonstrate the important difference between racing on the track and driving on the road and for us it’s about communicating this to young people on their own level”, they say.

We’re different to the way it used to be.  We don’t wear shirts and ties; we aren’t ‘authoritative’ figures.  We wear jeans and trainers, we engage with young people and offer our experience on car technology and safety systems in a way that is easy to understand.  We are chilled, the sessions are relaxed and we don’t believe in tests.  It is more about building confidence and experience.

“We both have first-hand experience of the devastation caused by losing members of our family and close friends to tragic motor accidents both on the road and on the track.  This is what keeps us passionate about what we do and drives us to continue to develop our approach to appeal to young drivers who are vulnerable on the roads.”


Innovative car technology is all the rage nowadays, and it doesn’t get more innovative than a little black box that is controlled by parents. Drive ID, from Cellcontrol, is the first solution for distracted driving that does not rely on self-policing and instead places the power in the hands of the guardian.

Fitting onto the vehicle’s windscreen behind the rear-view mirror via strong self-adhesive pads, it communicates with the Cellcontrol app when it detects that the vehicle is moving, and ensures that the phone can only be used in accordance with the policy that has been set up – whether hands-free, sat nav usage or music playback – by the parents. Vitally, any attempt to tamper with the system sends a notification to the parent immediately. The technology is so sophisticated it can even distinguish between a driver and a passenger, barring the driver from using the phone while allowing passengers to use theirs, as well as analysing driving scores and sending regular reports so as to encourage better driving over time.

Director of Cellcontrol, Andrew Tillman, says: “1.6m accidents each year are caused by mobile phone use, one in four of all accidents are as a result of distracted driving, texting is more dangerous than drink driving, car crashes are the number cause of teenage death and one in five newly qualified your drivers will have an accident within six months of passing their tests, yet until now, there has not been a proper solution.

“There have been quite a few products brought to market to address distracted driving but they are generic products, aimed at all drivers and the unfortunate fact is that most people aren’t great at self-policing.

“Drive ID from Cellcontrol is the first and only product currently on the market that can give parents peace of mind that their child is protected.”

With the DVSA proposals having just been put to public consultation, we can, in theory, have a say on how our teenage drivers are learning one of the most vitally important skills they ever will, and will wait with anticipation as to what the final decision will be. Until then, it’s good to know that so much is being done to keep our little bundles of joy protected that bit longer.

Cellcontrol UK is distributed in the UK by; G2M Technologies, Suite 30, Pure Offices, 4100 Park Approach, Leeds, LS15 8GB - info@g2mtech.co.uk www.g2mtechnologies.com
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