11-13-2013 09:56 AM
Paul Canario, director of auto product development at USAA, and his teenage daughter, Emily, wrote about their initial impressions of the Young Drivers Intelligence™ tracking device last year after Paul installed it in the car Emily drove. The purpose was to monitor and help improve her driving skills. Now, a little more than a year later, they talk about the pros and cons of the experience.
Emily had the device in her car for roughly six months last summer while we tested the system for USAA. The timing was perfect, as she had just received her license. I have to say, I thought the peace of mind was great. Knowing her location and driving habits gave me and her mom the opportunity to have meaningful discussions about her skills.
We found what we had hoped we would: She was a relatively careful and defensive driver. She gathered very few alerts for speeding, harsh braking, acceleration or excessive cornering speed. Most of our conversations with her concerned trip routes and stop-off points. We found that she preferred to use side roads rather than freeways. When we talked, she said she was just a little nervous about the speeds. It gave us the chance to practice together more so that she could gain the confidence she needed. All in all, we were thrilled with the window into her driving abilities that the Young Drivers Intelligence tool provided.
Her success and acceptance allowed us to reward her with a car of her own — a 2013 Ford Focus — with no device installed. Mom was happy to get her Expedition back. Emily pays for gas and insurance through her job at a local restaurant, and we make the car payment as long as her grades are in line (we got the better end of the deal; don't tell her!). She is now a high school senior and making college plans. She's also had no car accidents or tickets. Hopefully, she will see this learning experience as another sign of her parents' love.
Though it has been about a year since I had the tracker removed from my car, my opinion of it still remains about the same: I'm not its biggest fan.
I feel that though it was unnecessary, it did make me pay more attention to my speed and braking. It was handy that I would be notified if I hadn't been paying a lot of attention to my acceleration after a light change, but I was also paranoid that I was braking too hard, and my parents would be upset and want to "talk."
My friends thought the tracker was pointless, and they were happy they didn't have it on their cars. A way to improve the device, I think, would be to make it less sensitive. Sometimes a driver, of any age, needs to accelerate quickly or brake harshly because of other drivers. If the device weren't as sensitive, it wouldn't make the teen as tense while driving. Overall, though, the tracker did help me to be more aware of my actions, surroundings and others.
Read the first blog.
Find out more about Young Drivers IntelligenceTM and if you're eligible to enroll for free.
Originally posted Oct. 31, 2013
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