Putting the Brakes on Reckless Teen Driving

race-carI may end up in the doghouse with the teenage set (in particular, my teens) by writing this post. I can already hear the howls of protest “You don’t trust me!” But I just have to share the results of a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on the effectiveness of in-car monitoring devices to thwart reckless driving by young drivers. The study concluded:

Electronic monitoring of teenage drivers can reduce the incidence of risky behavior, especially seat belt nonuse, which declined in all treatment groups. No consistent effects were achieved for sudden braking/acceleration for any treatment group. Consistent reductions in speeding were achieved only when teenagers received alerts about their speeding behavior, believed their speeding behavior would not be reported to parents if corrected, and when parents were notified of such behavior by report cards. Parent participation in the monitoring process is key to successful behavioral modification, but it is yet to be determined how best to encourage such participation.

If you’re intrigued by this idea and curious about what types of gadgets are available, check out the article The Latest Tech to Keep Tabs on Your Kids at the online car site Edmonds.com. Some devices rely on GPS technology, while others have a dashboard camera. There’s even a device, Speed Demon, developed by a young man when he was 16, after another teen from his town died in a car crash.

While my teen has had her license for a month, we’ve yet to let her drive solo in the car. But that day is coming. Soon. And, while she does not appear to have a “need for speed,” I can see how this technology could help educate any young, inexperienced driver. I can also see the Big Brother-ish aspects to it. (Although, for the record, I am NOT one of those people who oppose red light cameras. I’m a big fan of them, even though my picture has been snapped once or twice.)

I’m not sure where I come out on this issue of electronic monitoring of young drivers. However, we’re buying a third car for the family in the coming months, so the time to install a gadget, if we go that way, is quickly approaching. Thoughts, Wise Women?


  • Maura Says:
    7-23-2009 08:59:26

    We are three years away from having a teen driver, yet the thought of it stops me dead in my tracks. I get a pit in my stomach whenver I open the newspaper and see yet another teen accident resulting in death. While I see my teen as being mature for her age and pretty much a “rule follower” its impossible to know what she will do when given the ability to drive on her own.

    Admittedly, I am a bit over protective. I see both sides of this issue. But as a Mom who wants her daughters to be both safe and accountable, I think we would install some gadget when that day comes.

  • Anne Says:
    7-27-2009 21:57:11

    This milestone is approaching my household within the next year. So far, I’ve kept my distance from getting involved with all the details that now goes along with teen driving. That being said, I think I would consider some kind of device. What scares me the most about where I live are the narrow, winding, wooded roads. Any reminders for my kids when I’m not with them may be a worthwhile investment. However, I’m lucky, Elaine, as you have to navigate this path before me. I’m sure you’ll figure out the wisest path, and I’ll just be able to follow suit in a few months!

  • Stacy Says:
    7-28-2009 19:31:16

    Anne, you’ll just have to mention not to turn right on yellow lights in Harrison, NY!

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