What is Teen Driver Monitoring?

Teaching your teen to drive when you're not around.

Learning to drive for teens— or anybody else learning to drive, really comes down to an on-the-job training program. The driving "instructor" mentors more than teaches, while the driver learns to drive.

The instructor continually corrects and coaches the driver through various real-life driving situations. During that supervised period of driving, inexperienced drivers have very low rates of accidents and risky driving behavior.

The problem occurs once the teen begins driving independently. In fact, research shows the highest increase in crash rates among drivers 16-17 the first few months of independent driving.

Why does that increase happen?

The answer becomes evident when considering that the new driver no longer has their instructor providing mentoring in real-time. Now the teen driver must control the vehicle while also making decisions with limited experience.

One parent interviewed for a study on reducing risky driving behavior by teens, summed up the problem perfectly,

“They’re overconfident about their ability, once they get their license they think that it’s an entitlement – ‘I have a license so I know how to drive.’”

Teens' behaviors and attitudes change when operating vehicles without a parent present. Surveys of teen-drivers indicate as such:

“[I] definitely [drive differently]… [I] go probably about what the speed limit says when my parents are in the car, the radio is normally off, two hands on the wheel, always looking around but when I’m on my own I’ve got the radio on just relaxing.”

With a teen fully licensed, how can a parent be there without being there?

Teen driver monitoring records various driving metrics such as; speed, hard braking, excessive speed in turns or curves and location.

In addition to monitoring vital driving stats, certain monitoring methods can prevent use of cell phones, control radio volume and even limit maximum speed.

Teen driver monitoring allows parents to continue coaching new drivers to help prevent risky behavior and avoid vehicle crashes. By reviewing driving records with teens, parents can know what behaviors need addressing, or determine whether their teen's driving habits are too dangerous to even allow independent driving.

With the knowledge from a teen driving monitor, the course of correction can be up to parents— before law enforcement or your insurance makes the corrective action for you.

Driver monitoring has been widely implemented in commercial vehicles for years. Until recently the equipment and technology was cost prohibitive and not generally available to the general public.

The advancement of technology now provides parents the ability to monitor their teen's driving behavior. These monitoring technologies come in different forms— from applications built into your vehicle's infotainment system to cell phone apps to full-blown gps systems requiring installation of specialized equipment.

Some systems provide real-time data, while others require the downloading of data after the trip. The Ford system for example requires a separate physical key that's easily programmed in minutes from the ignition.

Which system fits any one driver's situtaion will depend on budget, available hardware and level of input parents desire when driving.

Whatever monitoring solution a parent might select, one fact remains true, monitoring teen drivers reduces their risky driving behavior and chances of being involved in a crash.