Technology That Keeps An Eye On Teen, Elderly Drivers

Long used by fleet managers, driver-monitoring technologies are becoming more common as options on new vehicles.

These safety features are typically marketed at parents who might want to keep tabs on their teen’s driving behaviors, or make sure an elderly relative stays safe behind the wheel.

Not only available in select new vehicles, the technology also exists in app stores and auto centers from third-party manufacturers.

“The technology has existed for some time, but now we’re at a point where hardware costs have gone down and the technology is easier to use,” said Jeremy Gelbart of Autobrain, a company that manufacturers a vehicle monitoring device. “Pair that with lower cellular costs and the growing understanding of what having a “connected car” means and it’s easy to see why the demand has increased.”

With the tech installed, parents can receive notifications when their teen drives above the speed limit, breaks curfew or goes outside a predetermined boundary zone.

Fleet management technology has existed for some time. Only in recent years has the market adapted to include products specifically geared toward monitoring teen driving.

Often these aftermarket devices plug into the vehicle’s OBD-II port, usually found beneath the steering wheel, allowing it to interface with the engine and access a wealth of information.

The third-party products typically include a monthly subscription fee, while the technology on a brand-new vehicle may be complimentary for a trial period.

Apps for mobile devices also exist. Such apps might offer location sharing, automated alerts when a driver reaches their destination and even a chat function.

What to look for when choosing driver-monitoring technology:

  • Real-time updates. Get notified when your teen speeds, breaks curfew or goes outside a predetermined boundary.
  • Diagnostic feedback. Some of these devices can help owners learn why the “check engine” light came on.
  • Emergency assistance. Certain devices include access to roadside assistance, which is invaluable in case of a breakdown.
  • Crash detection. Some sophisticated devices can even send a call for emergency responders when it detects a collision.

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