In-Vehicle Monitoring and the Driving Behavior of Teenagers

In-Vehicle Monitoring and the Driving Behavior of Teenagers,Charles M. Farmer,Bevan B. Kirley,Anne T. McCartt

In-Vehicle Monitoring and the Driving Behavior of Teenagers   (Citations: 4)
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ABSTRACT Objectives: The primary objective of the current study wasto determine if teenagedriving behavior improves when a monitoring and feedback device is installed in the teen’s vehicle. Methods: Vehicles of 85 recently licensed teenagedrivers were fitwith a monitoringdevice that detected all instances of sudden braking, sudden acceleration, speeding, and nonuse of seat belts. For each detected event,a detailed notification was transmittedv ia satellite to a central computer. Drivers were assigned randomly to one of four research groups, differing in whether ornot an alertsounded in the vehicle and whether or not parents were given access to websitescontaining notification records. Event rates per mile traveled for the four groups were compared,usingPoisson regression. Results:Although seat belt use ratesalready were high, they improved significantly when violations were reported to the parent websites, and improved even more when in-vehicle alerts were activated. In -vehicle alerts and website notifications also were associated with reductions in instances of sudden braking/acceleration, but most reductions were not statistically significant. Report cards emailed to parents were more effective than giving parents access to a website detailing the teenager’s driving. Instances of speeding by more than 10mph,above the posted limit were reduced significantly only when each of three conditions was satisfied: (1) alerts sounded in the vehicle, (2) speed-related report cards were emailed to parents, and (3) teenagedrivers were given the chance to cancel report card notifications by slowing down. Conclusions:Electronic monitoring of teenagedrivers can reduce the incidence of risky behavior, especially seat belt nonuse, which declined in all treatment conditions. More complicated behavior was more difficult to change, however. No consistent effects were achieved for sudden braking/acceleration for any treatment group. Consistent reductions in speeding were achieved only when teenagers received alerts about theirspeeding behavior, believed their speeding behavior would not be reported to parents if corrected, and when parents were being notified of such behavior by report cards. Parent participation in the monitoring process is key to successful behavioral modification, but it is yet to be determined how best to encourage such participation.
Published in 2009.
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