New Devices for Parents of Young Drivers
Teenagers view the prospect of driving with anticipation and excitement. Parents, on the other hand, may have feelings of concern and perhaps even dread at the idea of their children first stepping behind the wheel. Technology developed by Ford and General Motors (GM) gives parents some peace of mind as their kids begin driving on their own.
Ford’s “MyKey” technology can limit the volume of a vehicle’s audio system in order to prevent teen drivers from becoming distracted. Other controls include setting a maximum speed for cars and prohibit drivers from using the radio until their seatbelt is fastened. In order to use MyKey, the car must be equipped with a “MyFord Touch” communication and entertainment system.
GM’s “Family Link” works a little differently. Instead of managing controls within the car, it tracks the driver’s location and sends text messages to the parents if their child travels outside of a specified boundary. By visiting the system’s website, you can also find the exact location of the car. Family Link functions as a $3.99 per month addition to OnStar’s emergency and navigation service, which is included in every GM car.
If you don’t have a Ford or GM vehicle, there may soon be a third high-tech option for ensuring that your teenage driver is safe. Currently under development, Truvolo is a plug-in gadget that checks for mechanical problems each time that your car is started. Truvolo also uses built-in sensors that can tell parents if their child is slamming on the brakes, rapidly accelerating, or swerving in the car.
While some may feel that these devices are too overbearing, parents have a reason to be concerned about their young drivers. Among Americans age 15 to 20, car crashes are the leading cause of death. Teens are prone to underestimating dangerous driving conditions and are 9 times more likely to have an accident than more experienced drivers.