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Auto Club device lets parents track teen drivers

October 13, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Automobile Club of Southern California is offering a free application to let parents track teenage drivers to help coach them to improve.

When kids hit their teens, one of their biggest desires is to drive. But it's also one of their biggest hazards.

The new tool aims at cutting down on teen driving accidents.

"Unfortunately we lose about 264 teens a year to teen driving fatalities, and there's about 26,000 teens that are injured each year," said Anita Lorz Villagrana of the Automobile Club of Southern California.

How a teen drives when a parent is in the car can be vastly different than when kids are unsupervised. That's where the Auto Club says the AAA OnBoard Teen Safe Driver program can help.

It uses a small GPS device that plugs into any car made after 1996.

It allows parents to set limits on how fast the car should be driven, when it should be driven and where it should go.

If a teen breaks one of those limits, an alert is sent to a parent's phone or email account.

While similar devices have been around for years, AAA insurance customers will certainly like the price of this one.

"We're offering it free - completely free, no strings attached - to our insured members who have teens on their policy," said Cletus Nunez of the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Parent Ed Slayton uses the device to monitor his 16-year-old son's driving.

"Since he knows it's in the vehicle, and he knows I'll get a text message and his mother will get an email, he just doesn't break those rules," said Slayton.

A teen that violates one of the limitations won't hear any alarms in the car, because AAA said that would be too distracting. That's also why AAA is warning parents not to call their kids every time a violation is registered.

For those worried about privacy issues, AAA said only parents will have access to the data, and it won't be used by the company in policy decisions.

The idea is to sit down with teens at the end of the day and use the data to coach them to be better drivers.


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