Perceptions and experiences of participants in a study of in-vehicle monitoring of teenage drivers.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Arlington, Virginia 22201, USA.
Traffic Injury Prevention (Impact Factor: 1.29). 08/2010; 11(4):361-70. DOI: 10.1080/15389588.2010.486428
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To assess the perceptions and experiences of participants in a study of a device that monitored teenagers' driving.
A device that continuously monitors and reports risky driving maneuvers was installed in vehicles of 84 newly licensed teenagers. Study groups varied by whether parents had access to a Web site that summarized their teenagers' driving and by whether in-vehicle alerts provided feedback to drivers. Recruitment of subjects and problems with the device were documented. Teenagers and parents were interviewed after removal of the device.
Although the study was conducted in a large urban area, recruitment progressed slowly. Parents who declined to participate usually said their teenagers opposed it, or they were concerned about intruding on the privacy of their children or jeopardizing trust with them. Both parents and teenagers thought in-vehicle alerts helped teenagers drive more safely, although two thirds of teenagers tried to drown out the alerts with loud music. Parents found the Web site useful but reported fewer Web site visits over time. Most parents would prefer receiving information through summary report cards rather than through a Web site. Both parents and teenagers thought the overall system was effective in improving teenagers' driving. Most parents said the Web site and/or device helped them talk to their teenagers about their driving. Parents thought the most effective system would be an in-vehicle alert with immediate parental notification; teenagers preferred a system allowing them to correct behavior before parental notification.
The difficulties in recruiting families for a study of in-vehicle monitoring and feedback technology suggest that gaining broad acceptance may be challenging. Although many teenagers were annoyed by the technology, most said they drove more safely because of it. Sending report cards to parents and allowing teenagers to correct behavior before parents are notified may increase the usefulness and acceptability of monitoring systems.

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