Local News

Black box lets parents track teen drivers

Posted June 20, 2011

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— Technology now allows parents to always ride shotgun with their teens and keep track of their driving habits from home.

A GPS box installed in a vehicle can let parents know where their teens are and where they've been and provides email alerts when the vehicle makes a sudden stop, accelerates quickly, takes a hard turn or exceeds 70 mph.

"If they're going around a curve going 60 mph when it should be 45, how would you as a parent know that? Well, this type of device will give you that type of data," said Stuart Lamm, president of GPS Mobile Solutions.

Another device would let parents block their teens from texting or making a cellphone call while driving, Lamm said. When the vehicle is moving, the phone locks down, unless the parents allow specific numbers to go through. When the car stops, the phone unlocks.

"Distracted driving is such a big deal with teenagers," Lamm said.

The GPS technology costs about $250, plus a monthly fee. The cellphone blocker runs about $90 and has an annual fee.

Black box lets parents track teen drivers Black box lets parents track teen drivers

Joe Earhart invested in the GPS technology for the truck his 16-year-old son, Mason, drives.

"There's a lot of anxiety there, watching your son drive away for the first time," Earhart said.

The black box beeps inside the truck whenever an alert is sent, and Mason said that makes him more aware of his driving because his father knows what's happening.

"He's already getting one alert. I don't want him to think it's a constant bad driving habit," Mason said.

The teen said he sees pluses and minuses to the technology, noting that he doesn't appreciate the emails his parents get about his driving, but he likes that the GPS will alert them if he's in a crash or when the truck needs maintenance.

"It's not really having a parent here critiquing and instructing. It's more of a reminder," he said.

8 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • carrboroyouth Jun 21, 2:42 p.m.

    This... is really sick. Definitely screams distrust in your teen. If you don't think he or she is ready to drive, don't let them drive. Simple enough.

    "Distracted driving is a big deal with teenagers." Yeah, it is with ADULTS too.

  • WritNEWlaws Jun 21, 8:35 a.m.

    @jdupree- Totally agree! I have tough love for my son who is almost seventeen and does not have a permitt because he is not ready. He does not agree with the law of permitt first and then a license. He also has to buy his own car with insurance and I do not help with any of that. If more parents took the "Tough Love" attitude then we would see less funerals.

  • nighttrain2010 Jun 20, 6:49 p.m.

    >>Technology now allows parents to always ride shotgun with their teens and keep track of their driving habits from home.

    Awww....'for the children'. I just can't WAIT until it's in all vehicles by law (and of course we'll be required to pay for it because the government 'cares'). Course there will be too many that have no problem with the government having the ability to track your every move and action right?

  • cucamelsmd15 Jun 20, 6:35 p.m.

    Yes, lets band-aid poor driving with a GPS black box, because that will solve the issue.

    Hey, here's a thought, how about some REAL driver education?

  • jdupree Jun 20, 6:21 p.m.

    He is a smart man. Wish any parent of new driver's had to put this on their childs vehicle. All you have to do is be near any high school when school lets out and watch them leave. It's like a stampede of wild horses.

    I investigated accidents for 20 years and young inexperienced drivers and a vehicle are a dangerous formula. There are the distractions of the radio, the phone, text messages and other young passengers. Young drivers just don't have the experience and judgement to handle this situation. The young man does not know how much his parents love him. Tough Love is the most special!!!!

  • MudLife Jun 20, 6:07 p.m.

    Bout time someone finally got smart with today's technology! The texting device is a great plus to. :) If only we had something for the drunk drivers or the ones driving high. The blowers you blow into to start the car are a waste because they have a friend blow into them that is sober. (Seen it in the movies)

  • Paul Parker Jun 20, 6:06 p.m.

    Unless the cellphone blocker is tied to a specific cell phone, I believe it would be illegal in the US. I'm pretty sure that cell blockers are illegal here.

  • smartmomma Jun 20, 5:59 p.m.

    LOVE IT! Will definitely be getting one when my boys turn 16, since race car driving is in their blood.