Teen Driver screen shot from GM video

Screen shot from GM video about its new Teen Driver system

This blog wrote recently that Ford’s MyKey system allows car owners to program a car, especially when a young driver is behind the wheel. Now General Motors is introducing a teen-monitoring system for parents. It will be available in the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, as Melissa Burden and David Shepardson report for The Detroit News.

Calling it a first in the auto industry, GM said the system will make it possible for parents to see on the car’s display how their teen drove the car, The Detroit News writes. The system, called Teen Driver, is designed to encourage safe driving, writes Angela Moscaritolo for PC. In a sentence aimed at teens, PC writes that Teen Driver “lets parents view a readout of how you drove the car, including how fast you went, how far you drove, and whether any active safety features (like over-speed warnings) were engaged.”

When it detects that the front seat occupants are not wearing seat belts, Teen Drive will mute the radio or any other device paired with the car, PC writes. And when the car goes faster than its preset speed limit, it will send out audial and visual warnings, PC adds.

Teen Driver gives parents the ability to set the radio’s maximum volume, and to choose a maximum speed between 40 and 75 miles per hour, PC writes. If the teen drives faster than that level, warnings will go off, PC writes.

The Detroit News reports that if the car is so equipped, Teen Driver will be able to let parents know if their teenager had any forward-collision alerts or forward-collision braking events. GM developed Teen Driver so that parents can teach their teens how to drive safely, The Detroit News cites GM safety engineer MaryAnn Beebe as saying in a statement. “As a mother of two, I know anything that has the potential of keeping one’s family safer is of great value to parents,” Beebe said.

Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, said it is important that parents tell their teens if their car has a system like Teen Driver, The Detroit News writes. Otherwise, “there could be unintended consequences,” said Stephens. That is because, depending on the system, it is possible that such a system will send data from the vehicle to police, or to authorities in the event of court cases, he told The Detroit News.

Car accidents are the main cause of death for people between the ages of 5 and 18 in the United States, as The Detroit News writes. The newspaper adds that young, inexperienced drivers are more likely than others to make fatal mistakes.

The Detroit News writes:

Young people ages 15-24 represent only 14 percent of the U.S. population, but they account for 30 percent, or $19 billion, of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28 percent, or $7 billion of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among females, the CDC said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says more than half of teens killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts. NHTSA said speeding was a factor in 35 percent of fatal crashes involving teen drivers, 25 percent involve drinking by a teen driver and 12 percent of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time.

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