A new report released by Britain’s Royal Automobile Club Foundation claims that dash cams and other forms of technology may reduce bad driving and teen crashes. The key seems to be making the information available to the new drivers’ parents.
According to an article on the RAC Foundation website, “Evidence … suggests the combined use of dashcams and ‘accelerometers’ — which record the high G-forces created when a car is driven erratically or dangerously — reduce bad driving if young novices know the information will be shared with their mum and dad.”
The report was conducted by Dr. Bruce Simons-Morton, the senior investigator in the intramural program of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Simons-Morton told the RAC Foundation “if new young drivers believe that what they do at the wheel will get back to their parents they are likely to moderate their behavior for fear of losing their newly found freedom and privileges.”
“Teenagers may balk at the idea of mum and dad effectively supervising their every trip,” RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding told British news source The Telegram, “[but] a constant parental presence, delivered through technology, has been shown to moderate risky behavior behind the wheel.”
The RAC Foundation report also addresses the fact that the “inclination to drive more carelessly is compounded by young drivers’ tendency to be easily distracted by things such as making and taking calls on a mobile, texting and the presence of young passengers,” and offers phone blocking technology “that can that can prevent phone use or notify parents that a teenager has used a phone while driving” as a possible solution.
Simons-Morton and the foundation hope that the findings will help address one of the major dilemmas that new drivers face — time behind the wheel to develop as a safe driver. Young drivers need experience to improve their skills and the quality of their decision making. However, placing inexperienced, untested drivers in control of an automobile without supervision can often put them at risk.
The Telegram states that 25% of people killed or injured on British roads between 2013 and 2015 were in crashes that involved drivers between the ages of 17 and 24 years old. Of course, the increased risk that new drivers face is not unique to Britain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 2,433 teens between the ages of 16 and 19 were killed in automobile accidents in 2016, and nearly 300,000 were treated for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes.
Simmons-Morton suggests that combining the use of technology with a graduated driver licensing policy, driver education/training, and parental supervision could reduce the number of young drivers who are involved in crashes, granting them the time behind the wheel they need to develop as drivers while limiting risky behavior through “virtual” parental supervision.
As Gooding told The Telegram, “Every parent of a young driver wants their child to drive safely without having to be in the car themselves but through black box telematics and dashcam technology, virtual supervision can have a big impact.”