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How Vehicle Parental Controls Are Saving Teens

How Vehicle Parental Controls Are Saving Teens

Allentown car accident attorneys warn that auto accidents are the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 20. Teenagers often underestimate driving hazards or are unable to recognize them, and people under 20 account for the largest group of distracted drivers by a large margin. Manufacturers like Ford and General Motors have introduced vehicle parental controls that help parents ensure their children are as safe as possible on the road.

What Are Parental Controls in Vehicles?

There are two basic types of controls available in such systems: monitoring and rule enforcement. Data can be delivered to parents in real time or recorded for later access. Real-time data is particularly helpful since parents can receive in-the-moment notifications via their smartphones and other devices. Enforcement mechanisms allow parents to set rules, which are then imposed by the system. The radio, for instance, may turn off when the car is started and not turn back on until all seat belts are appropriately connected. The specific controls vary between makes and models, but they can include:
  • Speed limits
  • Radio volume limits
  • Passenger restrictions
  • Time of day/night controls
  • Geographic range restrictions

Are Parental Controls Making a Difference?

As of this writing, parent controls in passenger vehicles are still a relatively fresh concept. Most new cars do not include them yet, but we do know that more than 84 percent of parents surveyed wanted them for their next new car purchase. The lack of data thus far means there is not much hard evidence that a difference is being made. However, parents who have these controls are overwhelmingly positive about their options to keep their kids safer. In particular, these parents praised their new ability to limit distractions such as:
  • Radio volume
  • Text messaging
  • Multiple passengers
  • Fiddling with controls

Growing Acceptance by Teenagers

Multiple manufacturers have stated that rebellious teenagers were a concern. The fear was expressed that this would be such a hassle for the parents they would choose vehicles without the controls. This hasn’t been the case, however, and recent marketing research demonstrates a high level of positivity among teenagers. This generation is perhaps less freaked out about potentially invasive technology in their lives, and more than 64 percent said that they would not resist parental controls. This is a change from just a decade ago, and experts believe that it will drive growth in the market.

Greater Availability in the Market

Perhaps the biggest issue facing parents is the lack of availability in the marketplace. Many manufacturers are not yet offering such features, and this is particularly true among the European and Asian automakers. Even among those manufacturers who do offer them, the options are limited to particular models, and the features are generally not included as standard equipment. Consequently, you have to pay extra. This will certainly change, but it may be a decade or more until it does.

What If a Car Lacks Parental Controls?

Are there options for parents with cars that do not have these controls? Yes, but those options are more in the do-it-yourself vein. If you’re thinking of taking your car to a shop to have a manufacturer's system installed, it may not even be possible, and it if is, the cost may be prohibitive. Nevertheless, there are products like AutoPi, which is based on the Raspberry Pi and plugs in to an OBD-II port. It provides monitoring and even rule enforcement.

If Your Teen Has Been in an Accident, Get Help

If you have a teenager who has been in a car accident, Metzger & Kleiner wants to help. Our law firm focuses on personal injury law in Pennsylvania, and we handle many legal cases involving teen drivers. You can meet with an Allentown car accident attorney to discuss your case without obligation. If you choose our firm, you will receive local representation. Contact us online or call us today to learn more. Our phone number is (215) 567-6616 for our Philadelphia office and (610) 435-7400 for our Lehigh Valley office.

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