From real-time GPS tracking systems to onboard cameras, technology is increasingly offering parents tools to track and even control how their teenagers drive, reports the Chicago Tribune. Many of the options are borrowed from fleet managers who have used them for years to monitor truckers and other commercial drivers. With car crashes the No. 1 killer of teens, taking 5,000 to 6,000 young lives each year, many parents want to learn the truth about how their children drive. Technology can offer them some answers.
Safety experts hope that one day automakers will use existing technology to make it impossible to start a car without wearing a seat belt or to exceed preset speed limits. For now parents have the CarChip, a $140 gadget that plugs into the onboard computer in most cars and records up to 75 hours of driving data. When later plugged into a home computer, it lays all the data out for parents to review. A growing number of companies are selling the devices over the Internet. The Sharper Image catalog includes a GPS tracking device that it says “secretly tracks anything that moves–your car or your kid, or your kid in your car.”