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Many parents invest in monitoring tech to track their teen drivers

Every parent fears the day when their teenager starts driving. California has comprehensive graduated driver licensing laws, but new and inexperienced drivers are still highly at risk.

Studies show that a teen driver is significant more likely to die in a fatal car accident during their first year of driving that at any other point after that. Statistically, more U.S. teens are killed by auto accidents than any other hazard. So what can parents do to help keep their teen drivers safe when traveling without them?

Many parents in Oakland and around the country are turning to vehicle monitoring technology, ranging from low-tech and inexpensive to high-tech and very expensive. The cheapest and easiest low-tech option is to put a bumper sticker on the car that asks: “how is my driving?” The bumper sticker also includes the parent’s cellphone number so that other drivers can call or text about how the teen is doing.

For those who want a more discrete way to monitor their teen drivers, a GPS service called “Geofencing” might be the way to go. Parents determine how fast the teen can drive and where the teen is allowed to go. If the teen travels outside the predetermined area or drives too fast, the service sends an alert to his or her parents.

At around $900, the most expensive option is a device and service called “Drivecam.” First, a dashboard camera is installed in the vehicle. Then, the camera is activated if the teen does something dangerous while driving. The company’s data center reviews each of these videos and reports back to the teen’s parents. The company also reportedly gives tips and feedback to help teens improve their driving skills.

Technological advancements like these would certainly give many parents peace of mind. But whether their teenagers will be happy about an arguable invasion of privacy is another matter.

Would you ever install monitoring equipment to keep tabs on your teen driver? What do readers think?

Source: CBS New York, “Seen At 11: New Technology Could Help Teens Stay Safe Behind The Wheel,” Apr. 4, 2013

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