In high school and college, I used to work for a local pharmacy delivering medications to people who couldn’t make it to the store. I also still lived at home. Once you get to a certain age, getting out and about is a struggle and something one shouldn’t have to do if they can’t. Also, the deliveries were free. Anyway, one such delivery was to my grandmother (rest her soul). I would always make it my last stop at the end of the day so I could sit and chat with her. It was during one of these conversations that I could some pretty good advice—parents do not need to know everything you’re doing. It’s advice I took to heart—not that I was doing terrible things as a young adult.
But even being a teenager and high schooler just a decade ago, the ability for parents to monitor their children has grown exponentially. Smartphones and GPS technology have exploded—and cars have only increased their technological prowess. So when I saw Chevrolet was expanding its Teen Driver Technology feature, I was conflicted. One, I understand the need to curb dangerous teen driving behaviors before they become a habit. I also feel like a parent shouldn’t know everything their kids do—even screwing up behind the wheel. I know if my parents knew, I probably wouldn’t even be allowed to drive.
That is not stopping the Detroit automaker from bringing the technology to more of its cars. While the tech first debuted on the 2016 Chevy Malibu, for 2017, the system will be available on the Bolt, Camaro, Colorado, Cruze, Malibu, Silverado, Silverado HD, Suburban, Tahoe, and Volt. The technology works by registering their teen’s key fob in the settings so the car can recognize when the teen is driving.
The system, which is quite robust, is only viewable in the car. We expect the ability to monitor teens as they are driving to be coming soon. The system has numerous features and monitors a litany of vehicle systems. For instance, if the occupants aren’t wearing their seatbelts, the radio and any paired devices would be muted. As a former teen—music is paramount to social survival in high school.
The system can limit the radio’s max volume and give auditory and visual warnings when the car exceeds preset speeds. Another feature built into the system does not allow the teen to disable any active safety feature. Those could be:
- Lane Departure Warning
- Lane Keep Assist
- Front and Rear Park Assist
- Side Blind Zone Alert
- Rear Cross Traffic Alert
- Forward Collision Alert
- Forward Automatic Braking
- Rear Automatic Braking
- Front Pedestrian Braking
- Stability Control
- Traction Control
- Daytime Running Lamps/Automatic Light Control
Once the teen is done driving, parents can access their driving report card. Information on that card will make any teen nervous about getting behind the wheel. Such information includes:
- Distance driven
- Maximum speed reached
- Overspeed warnings issued
- Stability control events
- Antilock braking events
- Traction control activations
- Wide-open throttle events
- Forward Collision Alerts, if equipped
- Forward Collision Braking events, if equipped
- Tailgating Alerts, if equipped
Growing up certainly ain’t what it used to be. Now, you can’t hide anything from your parents—even that late night romantic hookup in the grocery store parking lot. Dang!