Transportation & Vehicle Safety Policy
 

Study

Rural Teen Driving Study

Providing novice teen drivers and their parents with a means of identifying their good and bad driving maneuvers may help them learn more about how they drive. Those who are more risky may learn from their mistakes, thereby reducing their crash propensity. During the initial phase of learning, adult or parental supervision often provides such guidance. However, once teens obtain their license, adult supervision is no longer mandated, and teens are left to themselves to continue the learning process.

This study examines the ability of an event-triggered video system to extend parental involvement into the independent driving phase of newly licensed teen drivers. The system provides both immediate feedback and a 20-second video clip, giving the teen driver and their parent the opportunity to review and learn from their mistakes as well as good responses. The event-triggered video system was placed in the vehicles of 25 teen drivers (ages 16-17) for 57 weeks. The first nine weeks established a within-subject baseline; no parental or system feedback was given during this time. During the next 40 weeks, feedback was provided to the teen driver in the form of a blinking LED on the camera and a weekly report card mailed to the parents. The report showed the driver’s weekly and cumulative performance regarding unsafe behaviors and seatbelt use relative to the other participants. The last eight weeks was a second baseline period. Results revealed two distinct groups: one that triggered few events and one that triggered many events. Combining this emerging technology with parental weekly review of safety-relevant incidents resulted in a significant and lasting decrease in events for most of the teens that triggered many events.