Teenagers are quite accustomed to receiving report cards every few weeks, providing them and their parents with feedback about their performance. Report cards help everyone better understand the areas students are struggling in and where they might need some extra tutoring or assistance.
If report cards have long been used as a tool to improve performance in school, who’s to say the same concept couldn’t work on the road? Below, we discuss the rapid advancements in driver assessment technology and whether it could help keep teens safer behind the wheel.
The Case for Driver Monitoring Technology
Some call it spying, and others just call it good sense, but teen driver technology has created a way for parents to participate in a virtual ride along with their children each day. This type of equipment is designed to both sense and respond to driver behavior, as well as provide feedback alerts to parents. Some even offer advice and coaching along the way. Since teen drivers under age 19 are nearly three times more likely to die in a crash than older, more experienced drivers, any solution that might reduce risk behind the wheel is worth the attention of concerned parents.
Today, car manufacturers are building teen monitoring systems directly into vehicles. Chevy is one of the latest to update its line, with a driver report card that keeps a database of information to parents. Cars equipped with the technology not only report risky driving behaviors but also allow parents to set a maximum radio volume and a maximum speed the teen driver is allowed to travel at. It also prevents the radio from being used unless the seatbelt is engaged. Ford has a similar technology called MyKey that comes standard on many different models.
Since driver monitoring and coaching is still relatively new, studies are still ongoing to determine its effectiveness, as well as which features are the most useful for improving teen driver safety. However, initial findings have suggested that driver monitoring technology can reduce the frequency of risky behaviors in young drivers.
Car insurance companies are already catching on to the benefits. Some insurers tout discounts on car insurance for teens and older drivers when they install devices that record data about mileage, speed, and braking.
Can’t Bite the Bullet on the New Car Price Tag? You’ve Got Options
If handing your teen the keys to a brand new car is not on your to-do list, you still have options. Many independent companies offer GPS-tracking device and driver monitoring systems that can be installed on any model vehicle. Although these options tend to have a lower upfront cost than factory equipment installed in a new vehicle, there is often a monthly service fee for the use of the services.
Independent tracking services typically alert parents if a vehicle has breached a geographic boundary or exceeded the speed set within that boundary. Some even keep track of where the vehicle has been, whether the ignition is on or off, and how long the car remained in one particular place. Parents receive text or email alerts to keep them updated about their teen driver’s activities.
Even smartphones can be used to prevent risky behaviors. Today, there are phone apps that make phones inoperable (except for emergency calls) when inside a moving vehicle. For a small price, parents can prevent teens from texting, calling, surfing the web, or emailing while driving. While these apps do not generally provide information about driver activity, they can help eliminate a common distraction that is known to increase the risk of a collision.