Friday, February 6, 2009

More teen driving surveilance

I heard about this on the radio (while driving, naturally). I haven't run down all the details, but it brought to mind the "good driving monitor" and the case of the teen driver with a GPS:

The state of Maryland is currently doing a pilot program in which hundreds of teen drivers are getting DriveCams installed in their cars. The DriveCam is a webcam/accelerometer assembly that sits quietly on the rear-view mirror until it registers g-forces it doesn't like. At that point, it records 20 seconds of video and beams it up to the mothership for analysis. A driving expert then assesses the video and sends The Man (in this case the teen's parent/guardian) an email.

The intent (at least in this pilot) seems more educational than punitive; mail tends to be more "You should allow more time to slow down before corners." than "Get this stoplight-running drag-racing menace off the streets," and is aimed at reducing teen driving deaths. Given that teen driving deaths account for a disproportionate fraction of both teen deaths and driving deaths, this seems at least worth consideration [I'm dodging the privacy issues for the moment -- maybe I'll get back to them in a later post].

What do the teens make of it? The teen in the radio piece initially accepted it on the grounds that erm, there wasn't really any choice, but a few months down the road seemed to appreciate the pointers and had learned how not to set it off more than every couple of days. Avoiding an email to Mom and Dad is pretty powerful incentive for a teen -- whether that's incentive to drive carefully or to find a way to disable the device is a different matter.

1 comment:

castor said...

Time to make the GPS satellite simulator....