By Greg Bartlett
The news seems full of reports of teen driving deaths, around 3,500 in 2008 alone, and many parents wonder how they can keep their own young drivers safe. Certainly, when teenagers are learning, the solution is easy. Parents can sit right next to their children and monitor their every move, telling them to slow down, stop at stoplights, and cautioning them against reckless driving. However, what do parents do once their children are fully trained and learn to drive by themselves?
Many families have started using vehicle tracking systems to solve this problem. These systems allow parents to see exactly where their child is and what their child is doing. If a teenager is going over 70 in a 45 zone, he may find his phone ringing with a lecture from his mom. If another teenager appears to be engaged in reckless driving and won’t answer her phone, parents can track where she is and find her. Although these situations may seem unnecessary and annoying, especially to the teenagers involved, many lives could be saved by using GPS tracking.
Guy Thompson of Lake Oswego, Oregon tracks his 16 year old driver, Maggie using a vehicle tracking device. At first, he admits, he checked on her regularly throughout the day, and Maggie confesses she didn’t like being on a leash. However, the pair says that after awhile, Thompson started checking only once a day, and she grew used to the vehicle tracking device, forgetting, at times, that it was even there. Of course, like any teenager, she wishes her parents didn’t use it in the first place, but she is willing to put up with the process and does acknowledge that it helped cultivate trust between her and her parents. Thompson, however, feels the device is fine. Although, he does add that it needs to be between parents and children.
Although many teenagers may feel these devices signify a lack of trust on their parents’ part, most parents view that miscommunication as a small price to pay for the safety and continued lives of their children. Granted, some children are trustworthy without GPS tracking. Still, many others need the accountability provided by such a device. Parents of teen drivers should seriously consider purchasing a vehicle tracking device, thus preventing their own children from being one of the next 3,500 deaths this year.