At Automatic, we believe driving smarter saves you time and money, and helps keep you safe. This has been especially true for newly licensed drivers. We also know the first six months after getting a license are the most difficult and risky of our driving lives. Several products on the market attempt to make driving safer for teens with real-time monitoring. But in our research, we found monitoring doesn’t quite work for parents who are already overwhelmed with too much data. And it doesn’t work for teens who do not like being spied on, but do want help being better drivers.
So today, we’re excited to announce License+, a free program that empowers new teen drivers to build good driving behaviors with the support of a coach, built right into the Automatic app for iPhone and Android.
To develop License+, we spoke with many parents and teens to better understand how we might make learning to drive a better, safer, and more effective experience. Our unique approach surfaced five core principles that helped us create an engaging program for both parent and teen.
The 5 Core Principles of License+
1. Teens need freedom to learn good driving habits on their own, but still benefit from the support of an experienced driver.
Drivers who sign up for License+ choose a trusted coach for 100 hours of independent driving, which can be completed in about six months. During that time, the coach can review progress with the driver and identify skills to focus on next.
2. There’s a difference between licensed drivers and good drivers.
The teens we spoke to wanted the chance to earn driving privileges as they get better. License+ rewards time spent practicing good driving skills with a set of collectible badges, so when you drive 10 miles safely at night with your coach, or go 50 miles with no hard brakes, you’ll have a badge to show for it. Badges also help parents see which driving skills their teen has mastered.
3. Teens can be good drivers, and want a way to prove it to parents and friends.
When we asked stay-at-home dad Jose how he reacts when his son makes a driving mistake, he told us, “I let him correct himself first to see if he notices what he did wrong.” With License+, Jose’s son can do just that. Automatic scores driving throughout License+ based on driving events like hard brakes and fast accelerations. That information is accessible to both the coach and new driver, but teens can share specific trips when they want to show off. And at the end of the 100 hours, the driver earns a bronze, silver, or gold medal based on their final drive score. The medal is a certification of good driving and stays with them as they use Automatic beyond License+.
4. Open communication is more effective at improving driver safety than the threat of consequences.
A parent in California named Amanda told us, “Having a conversation is more important than punishment.” We agree. License+ was built to foster conversation and build trust between parents and teens. The coach’s web dashboard provides just the right amount of information so they can stay up-to-date without being overwhelmed, and the driver doesn’t feel spied on. A weekly activity summary is emailed to both driver and coach so they can review the driver’s progress together.
5. Parents want to keep their teens safe enough to succeed on their own.
Rachel, a mom in North Carolina, said, “I don’t want to be controlling. I want to see my son accomplish on his own.” Not only will License+ help him learn to be safe on his own, it also comes with tools to keep him safe beyond License+. Automatic remembers where you parked and helps decode the check engine light. For Android users, the Do Not Disturb feature automatically silences your phone while driving to prevent distractions. And in the event of a collision, one of our Crash Alert live agents will respond immediately, contact emergency services and parents, and stay on the line with the driver until help arrives. All these Automatic services are included with License+ for free.
License+ helps parents create a path to responsible driving, and it helps teens master good driving habits while earning the independence they yearn for. Becoming a good driver can be a great experience, one where teens seek advice from parents, brag about progress, and practice responsible decision-making. With License+, safe driving is something teens can be proud of.