How to Prevent Your Teenager from Distracted Driving for Free - The Drive Safe Mode App

by Erica Starr 15. October 2014

Drive Safe Mode App

Every day, thousands of people are injured or lose their lives to distracted driving. According to the Maryland State Highway Administration Safety Information Database, 231 people lost their lives and 29,050 were injured in distracted driver-involved crashes in 2011 alone. Nationally, distracted driving is a factor in 1 out of 4 vehicle crashes and at any given daylight moment, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010. (NOPUS)

After seeing the above statistics, the question you should be asking yourself is could YOU or YOUR NEW YOUNG TENNAGE DRIVER be one of them? While the dangers of distracted driving are no secret, the best way to prevent these unsettling stats from increasing is communication and education. Do you talk to your teenagers about the risks of texting and driving? Of course you do…but wouldn’t it be great if there was a way for you to physically prevent your child from taking that call while behind the wheel?

Wait no longer parents.

We present to you... (insert triumphant trumpet music)

The Drive Safe Mode App.

While we’ll be the first ones to tell you that our Mobile Banking App allows you to bank from anywhere at any time, there is one place that we would rather you not…while driving. As a matter of fact, if we could figure out a way to shut down our mobile banking app while you were driving, we would. As it turns out, someone figured it out for us. 1st Mariner Bank has teamed up with FOX Baltimore to help fight the battle against distracted driving by helping to promote the Drive Safe Mode App that is available for both Androids and iPhones. This app was created by a parent concerned with his own addiction to distracted driving. This addiction not only included texting, but also emailing, checking Facebook, browsing the Internet, checking sports scores, playing games and using any and every application on his phone.

Some of the App's features include:

  • Prevents texting, banking, emailing and other distractions while driving.
  • Push alert warnings if shut off while driving.
  • Blocks phone usage within a few seconds of vehicle moving.
  • Configurable to allow calling parents while driving.
  • Configurable to allow navigation apps while driving.
  • Configurable to allow music apps while driving.
  • Ability to deliver speed alerts for your vehicle.
  • Proactive alerting and reporting if user tries to disable.

While the App is is available for both Android and iPhone devices, the features and functionality vary slightly for each operating system. Click here to see a features comparison.

So how does the Drive Safe Mode App actually work? (Hint: You're gonna love this.)

Once a certain MPH is reached, essentially all functions of the phone are disabled except the ability to call 911 and/or any preset emergency phone numbers set up by the account holder (i.e Mom & Dad).

Here is a demo of the Drive Safe Mofe App in action on an iPhone.

What if my child tries to use his or her phone or delete the app? (Hint: Mom will know everything.)

In any instance that one attempts to use any non-emergency functionality of his or her phone or deactivate or delete the app, the account holder will receive a notification via text or email.

Ready to take action?

Download the Drive Safe Mode App on your teenager's phone today.

Want more info?

To see additional FAQs or get more info, check out the Drive Safe Mode site here.

The Scary Cost of Halloween

by Sara Seeger 14. October 2014

Ghosts, goblins and witches aren't the only thing to fear as October 31st inches closer. The amount of money Americans spend on Halloween is enough to give anyone the spooks! Check it out...if you think you can handle it.

The Scary Cost of Halloween

Best Loans for First Time Homebuyers

by Sara Seeger 7. October 2014

First Time Homebuyer

You've decided to purchase your first house - congratulations! You’ve hired a real estate agent and a few weeks later you find your dream home. Now you need to get the loan process started, so you research and choose a lender and before you know it you are in their office filling out papers and talking numbers.

This is the part where you will likely have numerous choices on which loan program works for you. Some programs have mortgage insurance, while others do not. Some programs require greater down payments, while others require less money down. How do you decide which program fits your needs as a first time homebuyer? Read below to sort through three of the most popular home loans.

1) Conventional

A conventional loan is what is sometimes known as a “traditional” loan. It is not guaranteed or insured by any government agency. Conventional loans do require a down payment, typically 5 percent or more. These home loans are often insured by private mortgage insurance if the down payment is less than 20 percent of the value of the property being financed. However, PMI (private mortgage insurance) can “drop off” when the loan balance is scheduled to reach 78 percent of the original value of the home. So PMI won’t have to be with the borrower forever with a conventional loan.

2) FHA

An FHA 203(b) home loan is a very popular first time home buyer loan option. This type of loan is insured by the Federal Government, and lenders are able to provide a borrower with competitive interest rates as a result. Credit score and credit requirements are generally more lenient than they are for a conventional loan. An FHA loan only requires a 3.5 percent down payment, which is the smallest amount down of any loan program, except a VA loan. However, FHA loans also require mortgage insurance, which will never drop off unless you refinance out of an FHA loan.

3) VA

In 1944, the U.S. government created a military loan guaranty program to initially help returning service members purchase homes. Since then, the program has helped more than 20 million veterans and their families with an affordable home financing situation. The VA loan has distinct advantages over traditional mortgages, such as requiring no down payment, competitive interest rates, and no mortgage insurance. However, you must meet eligibility requirements to qualify for a VA home loan. If you are active military or veteran, a VA home loan may be the right solution for your first time home buying needs.

As you can see, there are a variety of loan choices to consider when purchasing your first home. It is important to speak with your loan specialist about all of your potential options and find a loan program that fits your particular situation the best.

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