Technology allows parents to monitor teens behind the wheel

(WPRI) — For most parents, the idea of teens starting to drive is the most frightening thing. Thankfully, technology is now allowing parents to monitor their teens’ activity on the road.

The introduction of new car technologies could mean more safety for teen drivers and more relief for parents.

“There’s a whole new wave of technology that can enable parents to better monitor their children and also help shape their behavior behind the wheel,” said Jeff Bartlett, Deputy Auto Editor at Consumer Reports.

Ford’s My Key, a program available in more than 6 million vehicles, allows for parents to set restrictions on their child’s activity. Parents can monitor speed, radio volumes and cellphone distractions, all of which is activated only by their teen’s key. My Key also offers a safety feature that mutes the radio until the seat belt is fastened.

General Motors and OnStar offer the Family Link service which allows parents to monitor the location of their teen drivers on the road.

“You can go online and you can draw a digital map of a boundary, where you want your vehicle to stay within and if the car goes outside of that boundary, it notifies you with text message so it really enables families to have the confidence that their children or their loved ones are driving safely and staying in the environments that they’ve both agreed upon,” said John MacFarland, Marketing Director at General Motors.

Car companies are not alone in their efforts to promote driving safety. A growing number of third-party apps are providing similar services so that it is not necessary to purchase a new car in order to keep drivers safe.

Bartlett also said that with a growing number of senior drivers, some adults are concerned about their parents on the road. “Many adult children are looking to monitor their parents to know where they are and to make sure they’re not running into trouble,” he said.

Though some teens are sure to dislike their driving restrictions, Pamela Eady of Ford says that this is the way it has to be.

“I’m sure they’re rebelling in their own ways. But you know what? You want to drive? This is what you’re driving. At least you’re able to drive,” she said.

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