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Jan/Feb 2012 Issue

AAA launches high-tech program to help coach teen drivers

Parents can’t be with their new teen drivers all the time to coach them, but now there’s a AAA device that can accompany them in the car and help improve their skills by tracking their driving behavior.

The new AAA OnBoard® Teen Safety program can give parents peace of mind by providing valuable information about their teen’s driving habits, which they can use to help them become better drivers. The GPS device is available free of charge to all insured members who have a teen driver on their AAA auto policy.

“Traffic crashes are the No. 1 cause of death for teens, so this program is designed to help parents coach their teens about safe driving practices,” said Mike Right, vice president of Public Affairs. “Teens typically drive better when their parents are with them, so if they know that their parents can track them, they’ll be more inclined to focus on being responsible drivers.”

The device plugs into the diagnostic port of 1996 and newer vehicles and enables wireless communications between the vehicle driven by the teen and a password-protected Web site accessible to the parents. From the Web site, parents can locate the AAA OnBoard®-equipped vehicle with the click of a button.

Parents also can establish thresholds for speed, geographic boundaries, and curfew, and then if their teen driver exceeds any of the prescribed limits, parents will receive automatic alerts via e-mail or text. They’ll also receive alerts if the device is disconnected.

Parents can see a summary of their teen’s driving trips for any day over a three-month period, including the number of trips, when and where they began and ended, and whether the prescribed speed limit was followed. They also can access longer-term reports of a week or a month, which they’re encouraged to review with their teens.

“This tool is truly beneficial when you use it as a teaching guide and sit down with your teen to discuss the results,” said Right, who emphasized that the program is not a tool for parents to spy on their teens. “The reports can spur important conversations about safe driving practices, and good communication with teens has shown to be a factor among novice drivers who have fewer collisions.”

Another important aspect of the program is the device can automatically send the vehicle’s location when the teen driver calls for roadside assistance, offering more peace of mind for parents. To ensure members’ privacy, AAA assures parents that only they–not AAA–have access to their teen’s driving information.

Quantities of the device are limited. For more details or to enroll in the program, contact your AAA Sales Agent. A list of offices to serve you is can be found here. For additional information about the program, click on AAA.com/onboardteen.

OnBaord screen

Parents can locate their vehicle equipped with the AAA OnBoard® device (top) from a password-protected Web site (above) where they can set limits for speed and curfew, as well as geographic boundaries. They can receive alerts via e-mail or text if the prescribed limits are exceeded.

Facts about teen drivers

  • Traffic accident rates for drivers age 16–19 are higher than for any other age group.
  • Teen driver crash risk doubles with each teen passenger.
  • Teen drivers tend to take more risks, such as speeding.
  • Teen drivers tend to have poor hazard detection and low risk perception due to their inexperience.

(Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety)

 

OnBoard device

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