Bad Boys (and Girls) -Whatcha Gonna Do? Just Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!

Teenagers wait in anticipation for the day they turn 16 and can get their drivers’ license, while parents grimmace at the thought of their children growing up and going off on their own.  National statistics show demonstrate that teenagers are involved in wrecks 9 times as often as adults. Teens also tend to not wear their seatbelts without parents in the vehicle. American Family Insurance was fully aware of the anxiety caused by teenage drivers, and developed a program called Teen Safe Driver that allows parents some relief.

American Family Insurance provides a camera that’s placed by the rearview mirror on the inside of the car. The camera provides two streaming images 1) an image of inside the car and 2) an image of whatever’s in front of the headlights of the car during a given period of time.  The camera is always running, but it doesn’t record until it’s given a certain signal.  Sudden braking, accelerating, hard-cornering, or a collision triggers the camera to record the previous 10 seconds and following 10 seconds to show what happened and why it occurred. The footage is wirelessly transferred to Drive Cam’s Event Analysis center to be reviewed and scored, and tips are added for how to avoid the situation in the future. Both the parent and child receive weekly report cards that compare the child to their peers. The best news is…IT’S FREE FOR A YEAR for American Family customers!

Statistics say teens reduce the frequency and severity of high risk driving events by more than 70% in the first 6 weeks using the Teen Safe Driver device. Driver seatbelt use also increased from less than 40% to 100%, and passenger seatbelt rates have been proven to increase as well.

One of our office accountants, Sue Hanger, had the camera installed in her son’s car, and she says it undoubtedly made him a better driver.   She said that the camera has come into play on a couple of occasions and allowed her to have the necessary talks with her son which enabled him to learn from his mistakes.  On one particular occasion, the camera began recording when her son accelerated rapidly.  Sue received an email from American Family the next day stating that there was new video footage that she could view.  The interior video feed showed her son and his passenger singing and having some seeminly good clean fun while the exterior camera showed her son’s car going through a stop sign without stopping.  Parents always grapple with the topic of invading the privacy of their kids, but when their kids’ behaviors are jepordizing their safety and the safety of others, a free technology like this becomes almost a no-brainer.  The technology is like a smart version of “Big Brother” because it can sense when the driver is driving inappropriately.  It even caught her husband taking a corner too fast! 

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