Technological progress is amazing. Case in point: When I was learning to drive, my safety monitor was a "mom." It barked orders at me as I navigated Massachusetts streets, oftentimes recklessly at high rates of speed. In the future? Computers!
At least, that seems to be the safest route, if some amazing test results from a study into teen driving and accident prevention are any indication.
The test involved an in-vehicle data recorder (IVDR) system that monitors unsafe driving events, such as sharp turns, heavy acceleration and abrupt braking. Originally developed by GreenRoad, a San Francisco firm that specializes in trucker safety, the system takes this information and "grades" the driver. Red, yellow and green lights inform drivers how well they are driving at any given time.
The system sounds pretty simplistic, but the data suggests something remarkable. In those cars with the system, dangerous driving events were cut in half.
Impressive, but we imagine angsty teens will still find some way to complain about "the man" and mom and dad's snooping. Fortunately, there's an app for that. The system is accelerometer-based, and the software could easily make the jump over to smartphones, said Swedish engineer Per-Olof Svnesk in an article at New Scientist. You're already secretly looking at your kid's cellphone anyway, parents, so why not install a safety app in there while you're at it? They may even think it's cool, so no snooping necessary. [New Scientist]