helicopter parenting, helicopter parents
Bob Child/AP

Cameras Track Teens’ Dangerous Driving Maneuvers

October 27, 2008 02:32 PM
by Lindsey Chapman
Adults are monitoring teen driving habits with cameras in an effort to help reduce automobile crashes.

Monitoring Driving Behavior

More than 100 families in Maryland are taking fresh steps toward keeping their teen drivers safe on the road.

They have enrolled in a study that places webcams in vehicles driven by teens. The cameras record moments before and after potentially dangerous driving maneuvers, such as breaking suddenly and taking sharp turns. The video is transmitted to DriveCam, which analyzes the footage, posts tips for the driver to a Web site and makes the footage available for a parent’s review.

Researchers say placing a camera in a car with a teen driver may help reduce the incidence of car accidents, which are the leading cause of death among teenagers.

Inexperience, not necessarily alcohol or general carelessness, causes many teen crashes, according to The Washington Post. Even though some young drivers admit that the cameras had encouraged them to be more careful, others don’t appreciate being watched. “I feel like I’m being babysat, like I’m being watched constantly,” Stacie Richardson said. “It drives me nuts.”
But Richardson’s father feels differently. “She’s at that age where she’s a little rebellious,” he stated. “And I’m at the age where I’m not gonna take any crap.”

In August, the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University, Bozeman, announced plans to conduct a study aimed at helping teenage drivers stay safe on rural roads. Similar to the Maryland project, this study will use special in-car cameras that record video when “g-force sensors” are activated in a traffic incident like a vehicle swerve or a collision. Analysts will examine the problem, and then implement any lessons learned in a driver’s education class.

Opinion: Is it too much?

In a blog for The Chronicle-Telegram, Bruce Bishop confessed that he had researched the possibility of adding a GPS tracking device to his son’s car to track his driving behavior. “I have covered too many stories about kids being killed in car accidents,” Bishop wrote. He argued that the GPS device would just be another step in doing what he could to protect his son’s safety. However, he admitted, “My friends and even my wife think I’m a bit of a nut for wanting to do this.”

Related Topic: The dangers of summer

Reference: Driving contracts

When kids are ready to start driving, E.D. Hill of FOX News says parents would be wise to require them to sign a driving contract

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