I just wrote a few days ago about making it easier for people to snitch on your teenage driver. Now here’s a story from the Washington Post about actually installing a camera inside your car so you can spy on your kid yourself. Here are excerpts:
Ken Richardson does not have to ride in his 17-year-old daughter’s Ford Escort to know when she takes a turn too fast.
The Richardsons are among more than 100 families in Southern Maryland enrolled in a state-sponsored study to install camera systems that record the moments before and after an unusual driving maneuver, such as sudden braking or a too-sharp turn. State officials say the cameras could decrease the number of teen drivers killed in crashes.
Some of the teenagers have other thoughts on the matter.
“I feel like I’m being baby sat, like I’m being watched constantly,” said Stacie Richardson, Ken Richardson’s daughter. “It drives me nuts.”
The cameras are among the latest tools in the struggle to reduce teen car crashes, a problem that has been particularly vexing in Maryland. Last year, crashes involving drivers ages 16 to 20 killed 112 people in the state. Such accidents are often caused not by alcohol or overt recklessness but by simple driver inexperience. The problem has persisted despite efforts by lawmakers to restrict teen driving privileges.
The camera, mounted on the front windshield, captures footage of what is happening outside as well as in the vehicle. It saves about 20 seconds of that footage only when its sensors are triggered by excessive G-forces. Those forces tend to accompany unusual driving maneuvers such as sudden braking or swerving.
Saved footage is transmitted back to DriveCam via a cellular network.
DriveCam experts review the videos, add tips for the young drivers and post them to a Web site where parents can see them a day or so later. Parents receive an e-mail alert when the videos are posted.