Recent Reports Outline Public Policy Problems Related to In-Vehicle Monitoring for Teens
HARTFORD, CT: Recent reports on in-vehicle monitoring systems for teens and their potential integration into Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) Programs have produced mixed results about the feasibility of such a task. Thus far, research has largely shown that in-vehicle monitoring has the potential to reduce teen driver crash risk and prevent risky driving behavior (Lerner et. al 2010), (Guttman et. al 2011, 2013), (Mayhew et. al 2014), (Mayhew et. al 2016), etc. However, many of the same reports indicate barriers to in-vehicle monitoring integration with GDL programs. Mayhew, Williams and Robertson write; “despite the logic for these components… it was believed that these features would be very difficult to introduce, at least for the near term” (Mayhew et. al 2016).
The chief barriers to the introduction of in-vehicle monitoring requirements are; concerns about cost (Lerner et. al 2010), monitoring technologies pose a threat to user privacy (Mayhew et. al 2014), misuse on behalf of the parent, (Guttman et. al 2011, 2013) and an erosion of parent-teen trust (Guttman et. al 2011, 2013).
In response to questions of cost, Autobeacon, LLC points to its developments in software-based in-vehicle monitoring technologies that significantly reduce high costs associated with hardware-based technologies that were mainly studied in these reports. Furthermore insurance companies have set a precedent to offset costs of such products. “Companies in several jurisdictions including North America… are [already] using in-vehicle monitoring to set premiums on insurance packages” (Mayhew et. al 2014). “It must also be considered that many vehicle safety features, such as the airbag, were initially met with strong opposition before their universal acceptance and recognition as essential vehicle safety components” (Tullis 2013). In instances where research supports the mandatory use of auto-safety products such as the seat belt, airbags and snow tires (during weather events in specific jurisdictions), the ultimate added-safety of such a product historically offsets the initial costs of implementation.
In the age of rapid technological innovation, consumers have a right to express concern over the security of their private information collected by new products and software. Autobeacon understands that privacy is important for teen drivers, but also knows that the safety of teen drivers is of the utmost importance to parents and society as a whole. For this reason, Autobeacon offers a platform that encourages open communication between teens and their parents in order to promote safe driving behavior and continue teens driving education behind the wheel during the most dangerous years of teen driving. While a parent may be notified when a teen undertakes predetermined dangerous driving behaviors, Autobeacon’s engineers and IT security consultants have taken extensive measures to prevent that data from being accessed by unauthorized parties. Autobeacon was designed as a completely customizable system so if a user believes some features are too invasive, they are welcome to completly disable them or change the settings. All changes can be easily conducted in real-time with the app or online.
Some research has raised the issues of in-vehicle monitoring misuse on behalf of the parent and trust erosion between parent and teen (Guttman et. al 2011, 2013). Autobeacon, LLC’s platform provides a thorough solution to these issues. Guttman et. al found that teens were concerned that parents would use these technologies to “impose sanctions and penalties rather than as a teaching tool.” And that the mere prospect of monitoring will inevitably lead to an erosion of trust between the two parties. Autobeacon’s platform is designed specifically so that the parent and teen can agree on predetermined settings for all of its functions. For a teen driver, knowing these parameters with regards to speed in relation to the speed limit, number of passengers, music level, seat belt use etc. allows them to drive safely within those parameters, preventing any transmittance of information to the parent. Likewise, the parent will have no ability to ‘impose sanctions or penalties’ unless those previously agreed upon parameters (which often correspond with the law) are broken, in which case the parent is within their own right to take action as they see fit.
About Autobeacon, LLC: Autobeacon is a device & app solution to prevent irresponsible teen driving by monitoring and/or preventing cell phone use, texting and driving, seatbelt use, teen passengers, speeding & reckless driving, nighttime driving & driving past curfew, loud music and drinking-and-driving. Autobeacon also features a DashCam and Interior Notification Cam.
Guttman, N., and Gesser-Edelsburg, A. (2011, 2013). “The little squealer” or “the virtual guardian angel”? Young drivers’ and their parents’ perspective on using a driver monitoring technology and its implications for parent-young driver communication. Journal of Safety Research, 42: 51-59.
Mayhew, D., Williams, A., and Pashley, C. (2014). A New GDL Framework: Evidence Base to Integrate Novice Driver Strategies. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), National Security Council (NSC) and Allstate Foundation. Ottawa: Ontario: Canada.
Mayhew, D., Williams, A., and Robertson, R. (2016). A New GDL Framework: Planning for the Future. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Ottawa: Ontario: Canada.
Lerner, N., Jenness, J., Singer, J., Klauer, S., Lee, S., Donath, M., Manser, M., and Ward, N. (2010). An Exploration of Vehicle-Based Monitoring of Novice Teen Drivers: Final Report. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Washington, D.C.
Tullis, P. (June 7, 2013). “Air Bag-Who Made That?” The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/magazine/2013/innovations-issue/#/?part=airbag.