Several U.S. auto insurers have begun offering in-car cameras or global positioning equipment to help parents monitor their teenagers’ driving behavior, hoping to reduce the alarming number of crashes involving young new motorists.
Industry experts say it’s too soon to gauge the effectiveness of programs like American Family Insurance Co.’s Teen Safe Driver, used by the Kindermans in Madison, Wis. But the case for needing to improve highway safety for teens is compelling.
Traffic accidents are by far the No. 1 killer of U.S. teenagers, with a fatality rate four times higher than drivers aged 25-69. A total of 5,288 teens died in traffic accidents in 2005, and more than 7,000 were driving cars involved in fatal accidents.
While the programs do have shades of big brother, we can certainly understand how the watchful eye and immediate feedback on driving practices could be effective in reducing car wrecks. Hopefully some studies will come out in the next few months that examine the effectiveness of these type of strategies.