Spy-in-the-cab Could Improve Teenage Driving
Source: New Scientist
ACCIDENT rates among teenage drivers could be slashed using in-car technology that warns them when they are driving recklessly.
So says safety engineer Oren Musicant at Ben-Gurion University in Israel, who wanted to know if in-car technology could help reduce the appalling number of teenage deaths on the roads. In the US, for instance, car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, accounting for over one-third of all deaths of those aged between 16 and 19 years old.
In March 2008, Staffordshire County Council in the UK trialled in-vehicle data recorders with 50 local teenage drivers over six months. The IVDRs, made by GreenRoad of San Francisco, California, are more commonly used to help truckers drive more safely and with greater fuel efficiency. The IVDR monitors unsafe driving events, such as overly sharp turns, heavy acceleration, hard braking and fast lane-changes. The warning system was switched on halfway through the trial. From that point, red, yellow and green LEDs on the facia of a dashboard-mounted box told the drivers how they were faring.
The unsafe driving events undertaken by each driver halved after the warning system was turned on. Musicant reckons the system could become part of the measures insurance companies mandate for teenage drivers: “Some insurance companies already adjust premiums depending on how far you drive – in pay-as-you-drive programmes. This could be part of such measures, lowering premiums if a teenager uses a risk detector.”