Keeping an Eye on Our Kids When They Are Driving
In this age of helicopter parenting, it’s not surprising that the automotive industry has invented ways to tap into the fears of over-attentive parents. Sending your teen out the door with the keys to your car is pretty scary, so the possibility of monitoring and even controlling him while he is on the road is tempting. Find out more about these features and how you can get them.
What Can This Technology Actually Do?
Just as most schools now provide online access for parents to their kids’ grades and attendance records, General Motors now offers driving report cards to parents. Their “Teen Driver” system, available soon on certain 2016 Chevy Malibu models, will allow parents to access a driving report stored in the car. The technology will provide information about how often the car’s safety technology and warning systems are engaged and summarize the following information on the car’s touch-screen display:
- Distance driven
- Maximum speed
- Overspeed warnings
- Forward collision alerts
- Forward collision avoidance braking
- Stability control
Ford’s MyKey system has been out for several years. While it doesn’t offer a report card, it does allow parents to activate warnings and block distractions to protect their teen drivers. Cars with the MyKey system will automatically do the following:
- Mute the sound system until seatbelts are buckled
- Limit maximum volume on the sound system
- Chime an alert at 45, 55, and 65 miles per hour to remind the driver to slow down
- Provide an option to set a maximum speed of 80 miles per hour
- Block calls and texts on devices paired with the car’s SYNC system
- Give low fuel warnings
Along with features built in to new cars, smart phone apps and aftermarket devices are available to accomplish similar goals. Several companies now offer GPS-enabled devices that plug into the dashboard and monitor the driver’s actions.
Do These Features Keep Kids Safe, or Just Get Them in Trouble?
While spokespeople for the companies offering these technologies defend them as learning tools for teen drivers, others feel that teens will never learn to be responsible for their own actions if they are constantly being monitored. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the fatal crash rate per mile driven for drivers aged 16 to 19 is three times that of drivers over the age of 20. For 16- and 17-year-olds, the fatal crash rate is double what it is for 18- and 19-year-olds. Given these numbers, it makes sense that parents want to do whatever they can to keep their teen driver safe.
We Want to Keep Your Teen Drivers Safe, Too
If your teen was injured in a car crash caused by another teen, call us to see how we can help. Being young and inexperienced is no excuse for hurting innocent passengers or other motorists.