Chevrolet tech allows parents to spy on teen drivers

Published: March 25, 2015

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Callum Micucci

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Chevrolet has announced that the new 2016 Malibu will include technology that gives parents the ability to track their kids’ driving habits.

Called “Teen Driver,” the technology tracks how far the kids drive, their maximum speed (as well as speed warnings), collision alerts, automatic braking events, and how often the car had to activate its stability control systems.

“Teen driver is a technology I think many parents would appreciate, because when a parent turns over the keys to their teen there’s a lot of anxiety [that comes with] not being able to be with their teen while they’re driving by themselves,” said Maryann Beebe, a safety engineer with Chevrolet, in a video teasing Teen Driver.

It can even limit audio volume, so your kid won’t be able to blast his or her favourite tunes and upset the neighbourhood. It’ll even mute the radio entirely if your child doesn’t fasten his or her seatbelt.

 “Teen driver encourages safe driving habits for teens in a number of ways, such as muting the radio until the front occupants are buckled, or providing a speed warning when the driver exceeds a pre-set speed,” Beebe said. “It automatically turns on active safety features such as forward collision alert and lane departure warning to help the teen avoid a crash.”

Parents are able to track their teens’ driving habits through electronic reports.

“It also provides parents with an in-vehicle report card of the teen’s driving performance that parents can use as a teaching tool with their teens,” Beebe said.

The technology is getting some flak from online news outlets and blogs, with Car and Driver dubbing it “Spyware Targeting Teen Drivers” that offers “a creepy level of oversight” through “NSA-style spying.”

Despite the criticism, General Motors is attempting to help solve a problem that’s plagued the roads for a while: the amount of car accidents teens have far outweighs their actual representation on the road. The age bracket of 16-24 year-olds is about 13 per cent of all drivers on Canadian roads, but 25 per cent of accidents occur in this range.

Whether this is a solution remains to be seen, however. Chevrolet unveils the 2016 Malibu at the New York Auto Show April 1, and they certainly seem to think the technology is a viable solution.

“I have teens that will be driving before I know it,” said Beebe.

“And it makes me feel good to know that technologies like this will be available when my children start becoming teen drivers themselves.”