Having a teen driver in the home can be both an exciting and scary time. Teen drivers embrace their new-found responsibility, but lack the experience to be naturally responsible drivers. Parents are relieved to no longer have to play chauffeur, but worry for their teenage son or daughter's safety. How do you allow them freedom, and at the same time, ensure they develop safe habits? Telematic technology can help provide the balance needed between worry and responsibility while new young drivers learn the rules of the road.
Advances in collision prevention technology have dramatically increased over the last ten years. Our vehicles are now safer and easier to drive than ever before. Teen drivers are still at a higher risk for being involved in a serious accident.
Unfortunately, the increase in electronics has also created a large increase in distractions. Today’s young drivers have more screens and settings taking their attention than ever before, which means their eyes are on those things and not necessarily the road.
As a parent of a youthful driver, it is up to you to help them learn good driving habits now before something unfortunate happens. Thankfully, that’s where telematics come in. Here’s what you need to know about how they work and the various ways they can help you keep your teen driver safe.
Telematics are after-market add-ons to your vehicle that offer various technology advantages. They are Wi-Fi and GPS connected, allowing you to control, track, and monitor a vehicle remotely from a smartphone.
Different telematics platforms offer varying options and benefits. Some allow you to check and monitor the location of your teen driver, while others allow you to set geofences around specific locations that set off an alert if the vehicle enters that area range. In some cases, parents have the ability to set speed limits and curfews that trigger an alert if the young driver goes over that benchmark or misses a curfew. Further, some include dash cams that give the driver the ability to see while backing up if their vehicle does not already include this feature.
Many insurance companies now offer discounts for vehicles with specific telematics for teen drivers. Each company has their own app or plug-in device, so it is important to check with your carrier to find out which one they require.
There are numerous ways that telematics can help young drivers learn to be safer on the road and give parents an increased peace of mind. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in those between the ages of sixteen and eighteen. Telematics offer the opportunity to give teenage drivers a little extra monitoring while they are maturing and learning to master an important skill.
The biggest reasons why teen drivers have accidents? A few of the most common factors include:
There are certain rules of the road that only being behind the wheel for years can help you learn.
These parts of the day are statistically worse for accidents involving teen drivers.
Talking with friends, messing with the radio, or operating a cell phone are only minor examples. Even something as setting a dashboard GPS system or changing a radio station with a touchscreen can cause a serious accident. It’s also important for your child to know your state laws on cell phone use while driving.
Making mistakes to show off for friends or push the limits could have serious consequences.
Students who work jobs after school can be at a higher risk for being involved in a serious collision.
Seatbelts save lives. Drivers in all fifty states must wear a seatbelt while operating a motor vehicle.
Stress the importance of sober driving to your teen and the potential consequences of being impaired.
One of the most common factors for all teenage accidents, including those that are minor, is speeding.
The psychological accountability of monitoring a teen’s driving and movement with smartphone apps like Life 360, where parents of the user can track where they are, speeds they are driving, and more is huge. Believe it or not, it makes a big difference when your teen knows mom and dad are watching. This accountability combined with good parenting helps young drivers make better decisions.
The use of telematics can also affect insurance rates, and not just in reducing the likelihood of a claim. For all drivers, the better your habits on the road, the lower your rates will be. Good driving habits can reduce your rates, in some cases helping you qualify for discounts up to 40%. As a parent, this is a good way to show your insurance provider that your teen has good habits to keep them safe on the road.
If your child hasn’t yet reached driving age, it is important first and foremost to be a good role model when they are still in the backseat. The best way to teach a teen to develop safe driving habits is to model them. Put your phone on 'do not disturb' mode, always buckle your seatbelt, respect speed limits, follow traffic laws, and generally show them what it means to operate a motor vehicle responsibly.
Then with your new teen driver, know ahead of time that they might not like the idea of tracking technology in their car. You'll have to weigh the pros and cons of using the technology in your family. Every child is different, so talk with yours. Keep communication open. We agree that keeping them safe while they learn is an important enough priority to open up the conversation. In our experience, telematics isn't a permanent solution. Perhaps consider starting with the technology, and then phasing it out as your student driver meets certain benchmarks. It will not only challenge your young adult to adopt good driving habits early, but a good driving record will help take the bite out of new driver insurance rates. To cement the point even further, you can download and print this Teen Driving Agreement to discuss with your child.
Have questions about what telematics options are available and how they might be beneficial for your family? Contact us to learn more.