New Technology Helps Parents in Monitoring Teen Drivers


The device was meant to track the mileage of vehicles and low mileage customers like her would pay lower insurance premium rates. When the girl realized that her share of the premium would come down by half and she could have the extra money for other expenses, she immediately agreed to the proposal. The device was a huge help for Jennifer in making her a more responsible and safer driver. The teenager did not have any citations or wrecks in the two years after the device was installed in the car.

A wide range of GPS-based automobile monitoring options has become quite popular among parents of teenage drivers. The most common option is the smartphone apps that alert parents whenever the teens drive faster than preset speeds. They plug in the onboard diagnostic computer of the vehicle or professionals would hard-wire the monitoring devices in the vehicle. An insurance study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2009 covered 84 teen drivers in the age of 16 and 17 in Washington, D.C. area. The study proved that teenagers driving vehicles fitted with such monitoring devices drove quite differently and they took lesser risks than unmonitored teen drivers. Hence, many insurance companies offer discounts to their customers who install such devices in their vehicles permanently.

The mileage-based Traveler’s discount program is named IntelliDrive. It is a palm-sized device fitting into the diagnostic port of the vehicle under the steering wheel. This program helps parents in viewing the driving history and data of their teens in a secure website. This program is available in Alabama, Indian, Illinois, Ohio, Maine, Virginia, and Oregon.

AT&T is also developing a plug-in device named Driving Safety, which could monitor driving behaviors like speeding, red-light running, and sudden braking. This device provides real-time information of the diagnostics of the vehicle to parents, such as engine light coming on and tire pressure. Parents could also restrict the mobile phone use of the teen driver. Parents like Pilat feel that they have become much closer to their teenage children after the installation of such devices, since they discuss the driving habits of their teens openly and the teens also appreciate positive comments. The teens also mature as safe drivers.