Parents on Board: Does New Technology Allow Parents to Keep Teen Drivers Safe, or Just Invade their Privacy?

Parents on Board: Does New Technology Allow Parents to Keep Teen Drivers Safe, or Just Invade their Privacy?

While all parents wish they could be in the car with their teen drivers at all times, there comes a point when their teen will drive on their own. However, thanks to new technology, parents will be able to closely monitor their teen driver’s driving habits—even when they aren’t actually in the passenger seat. The Teen Driver System on the 2016 Chevy Malibu is one of many systems to come that is allowing parents to see what kinds of habits their teen driver is practicing when they are alone or with friends in the car. Though the technology is meant to be helpful to new drivers and help parents rest easy, many worry that these systems will merely be a way for parents to spy on their teens.

Despite the fact that parents could in fact use this technology to invade the privacy of their teenagers (or whomever is driving their car), let’s take a look at how this technology could actually help to keep teen drivers safe:

Risky Driving often ends in Fatalities

Parents On Board - Does New Technology Allow Parents to Keep Teen Drivers Safe, or just Invade their PrivacyAuto insurance companies and the Department of Motor Vehicles consistently notice that teen drivers tend to be the riskiest drivers and are most likely to end up in car crashes. According to a recent DMV report, teens may not drive as far as adults but, have a higher amount of vehicular crash and fatality rates; teens ages 16 to 19 are three times more likely to be in a death-related collision than those ages 20 and over; and although teenagers are legally too young to drink and drive, if they choose to, they are consistently more likely to crash. With a system that acts as a “back seat driver,” many hope that this new technology will help teens to be more aware of their surroundings, make better decisions, and lower their rates of “risky” driving.

The System Knows Teen Driving Habits

The 2016 Malibu mid-sized sedan didn’t just come up with random driving accusations to nag teenagers in the way a parent or driving instructor might. The driving system gives teens the opportunity to make these mistakes before warning them, give or take a few. Monitoring security features include warnings for going over the speed limit, possible collision alerts, risky or abrupt braking habits, mandatory seat belts and radio moderation. These warnings coincide with common teen driving mistakes. This DMV report shows that teens are most likely to speed, tailgate the car in front of them and are less likely to wear a seatbelt when they are driving without a parent.

The Teen Driver System Might Help Parents Breathe Easy

In the same manner that some parents want to know whether there will be adult supervision at parties or spring-break vacations, that same sense of comfort could possibly help teens and adults feel more comfortable with driving. If the teen driver regularly does well on the Teen Driver system, parents may be less anxious about their children driving. Having the system on this car is also another valid reason that teens can use to rationalize why they should be able to drive more. What’s the point of getting a Teen Driver system in a car without letting the driver drive? With a “buddy” on board to help the teen remember to drive safely, there will be less tension between parents and teens about driving. The teenager will know what their parent expects, and that their parents will see any poor driving habits.

While these teen driving systems could certainly be a teenager’s worst nightmare, as long as the teen knows that their parent will be checking up on their driving habits, it shouldn’t be seen as an invasion of privacy. Hopefully most parents will use this technology to keep their teenagers safe, and hopefully most teens will see it as a way for them to drive on their own without their parents worrying.

AUTHOR BIO: This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves writing for technology and parenting issues. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters. Dixie got advice for this article from a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles.

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