New Way for Parents to Observe How Their Teens are Driving

August 31, 2007

Some Colorado teens have more than the police on their trail. An insurance company has offered to set up cameras in their cars that observe drivers.

Incidents of risky driving were reduced 70 percent in a national test last year of teens with the cameras, according to the Madison, Wis.-based insurer American Family Insurance. There is no charge for the cameras, which are mounted inside the car.

“Nobody can view the video except for the parents, with a password that’s proprietary to them,” Tom Walker, an agent with American Family Insurance, told KCNC-TV in Denver.

“This is so dumb, what’s going to happen?” asked Korben Knudson. “We’re all good drivers.” Chase Ryland said he wouldn’t be able to kiss his girlfriend anymore.

Walker said the camera only films out-of-the-ordinary events like swerving.

“We clearly know that how teens drive without a parent is very different from how they drive with a parent,” Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, told The Denver Post.

Video monitoring “is like having a parent in the car with a teen,” she said.

Student driver Bradley Antonio fought his mother over the installation of the camera, saying she didn’t trust him. Two days after it was mounted, he was in a minor collision. The camera showed he had turned in front of the other car.

“It was frightening, really frightening, to see that,” Laura Antonio said. “He is really learning a lot from this.”

The company started the program last year and offers it in 18 states.

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