Subscribe to this Blog
Today's Blogs
    The Checkup:

Click. Your Teen Is at the Wheel

Parents have plenty of ways they can spy on their kids and child-care providers: Hidden nanny cams can record what goes on at home when they are not there. Daycare cams let parents see their children while the parents are at work. Cellphone trackers tell parents where their cell-carrying tweens and teens are at all times. Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, there's the DriveCam.

The University of Iowa has been studying whether the camera, which attaches to the rear-view mirror with one lens facing the road and another facing the driver, can make teens drive safer. Motor-vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Starting today, the Journal reports, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin parents of teens who are customers of American Family Mutual Insurance Co., can request the DriveCams be installed in their cars for free. Incidents that trigger recordings will be reported to parents, who can then discuss them with their children.

On the one hand, this is a great invention that can help teens learn to be better drivers. One teen in a University of Iowa study on the DriveCams said that the triggering light of the camera made him a better driver. On the other, this is so Big Brotherish!

Ultimately, these devices come down to trust and control. Do you believe in these devices or shun them? Will you be first in line to get a DriveCam installed in your teen's car?

Today's Talkers: Study Finds Kids Gain Weight Over the Summer ... Magnetic Toys to Carry New Warning Label ... States Too Lax on Day-Care Centers, Survey Warns

By Stacey Garfinkle |  March 1, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Teens
Previous: Boys vs. Girls | Next: Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss


These devices are an EXCELLENT idea for all teen drivers. The age category from 16-20 of drivers has the highest rate of crashes, usually (but not always) atributed to the lack of experience behind the wheel of the driver. A camera watching what they do (it only triggers when a "panic move" is initiated such as hard braking, sudden steering movements, etc) may help young drivers to be more careful on the road, and identify bad habits before they become fatal.

Another good idea that NC has instituted is a graduated driver's license. Beginning drivers are limited on when and where they can drive, how many teen passengers they can have in the car with them, etc. As they gain experience, the restrictions are gradually lifted. It has helped considerably in reducing crashes involving beginning drivers.

Before anyone starts complaining about "infringement of privacy" of the drivers, may I remind you that operating a 2 ton hunk of steel at highway speeds is a hazardous activity for ALL of us, not just the driver? It is not a right to operate a vehicle, it is a privilege and can be revoked at any time.

Stepping off the soapbox...

Posted by: John | March 1, 2007 7:50 AM | Report abuse

No, I won't have one installed. The problem is that it's another distraction to the driver - I can see kids trying to figure out what they can do to set one off. Let them focus on the road and learn how to drive.

To respond to what John said, the graduated licensing system is a good idea - in Maryland, drivers with a learner's permit now need 60 hours behind the wheel, at least 10 of which have to be at night, and I believe 6 months (it used to be 4) before they can get a license. When they do, it's a provisional license with restrictions. They have to keep a clean record for 18 months before they can get a full license. While this is not as strict as NC, it's still a good idea.

Posted by: Army Brat | March 1, 2007 8:04 AM | Report abuse

After 2 of my children have totaled 3 cars, you bet I will have one for the 4th child when he starts to drive.

Posted by: Fred | March 1, 2007 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like a good idea to me. Even with adults, we know we slow down when we see a camera near the light. Even if the camera is not installed, most adults will slow down. I think it is a good idea.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 1, 2007 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Okay, since I seem to be in a minority of one here, let me ask: what exactly is the benefit of this camera? I can see where it provides evidence after the fact - "you had that wreck because you were talking on the cell phone, trying to change CDs, and holding hands with your boyfriend all at the same time - see, this proves it." It's kind of an airline "black box" recorder.

But do you think it will provide a deterrent? I'm being very honest in asking that question, because I don't think it will. I can honestly see my 16-year old son trying to figure out how to set it off. And they already know that "if I cause a wreck and survive it, Dad's going to kill me". I just don't understand why this is a deterrent.

Fred, how would this have affected the accidents? Do you really think that if they'd have had a camera in the car they WOULDN'T have had the wrecks, or are you just looking for proof for after the fact?

(Foamgnome, we slow down for a camera at a light because the alternative is a ticket for speeding/running a red light, and the camera's a rare thing. It's very different when the camera's always on - I think the deterrent effect goes away after a while.)

Posted by: Army Brat | March 1, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I'm thinking about Army Brat's question, and while I don't know much about these cameras, I'm thinking that, the camera goes on when the driver performs a 'panic move'. A panic move doesn't mean an accident has happened. So, if my son was talking on his cell, and had to hit the brakes to avoid an accident, and DID avoid the accident, there would be a record of the incident and I could talk to him about it when he got home.

I like the idea. If my son knows that he will lose privileges when he not following the rules when driving, and there is proof, maybe he'll follow the rules. And if he follows the rules, maybe he can avoid an accident or two.

Posted by: JerseyGirl | March 1, 2007 8:38 AM | Report abuse

once again we're talking about how to control our teens AFTER they get their licenses. We ask about what the safest car is, we change license requirements and now we install cameras in the cars. None of this would be as necessary if parents would *practice what they preach*. If all of us set an example for our children by using manners when we drive - driving at the speed that the rest of traffic is driving, NOT tailgating, not using cell phones and making sure the children know why you don't, using turn signals, letting people merge in front of us, our children would be *on the road* to being good drivers. Instead, our teens are just being teens in driving like their parents, but in an exaggerated way.

Posted by: jj | March 1, 2007 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Actually, I don't think we'd buy something like this. I have no interest in spying on my child. Kids need to learn to do things because it's the right thing to do or the legal thing to do, not because they're afraid of getting caught.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 1, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Army Brat,

I think that a camera would allow me to correct and retrain when the driver makes a mistake that does not result in an accident. It would also focus the teen driver on his behavior. I have seen some film from teen driver running thru red lights, blowing past stop signs and other behaviors. The children can learn from viewing the own driving manners. In the case of the 3 totaled cars, the physical evidence clearly demonstrated what happened. Fortunately, no serious injuries resulted from any of them.

To WorkingMom X.

Do you have any teenagers yet?

Posted by: Fred | March 1, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

WorkingMom X,

Also, why do you feel it would be spying on your kids if they knew the camera was in the car?

Posted by: Fred | March 1, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Fred -- Yes. She's 19.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 1, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse


(Not being snarky here)If your 19 yr old have never given you a reason to doubt her judgement or never had a laspe of judgement, I am happy for you. I can tell you that is not the average behavior of any teenagers that I know.

Posted by: Fred | March 1, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, Fred, didn't see the second post.

I don't want to be around for every waking second of my teenager's life. (And God knows I hear WAY more about it than I want to.) I think part of the process of separating from your parents (so you can become a successful and happy adult) is doing things on your own without one of your parents looking over your shoulder. We can't always be around to make the right choices for our kids. My husband and I feel the best we can do is raise them right and then let them try their wings, so to speak.

Also, she hasn't totaled any cars or even gotten a speeding ticket. It's possible that if she had shown any propensity for distraction while driving, I'd be thinking other thoughts. But I don't know. I think we'd just restrict her driving privileges. That's what my folks did.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 1, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Admitting fault. Increased liability.

Your kid's at the wheel, and what you want to do is record this so that it can be used against him/her?

I don't get it.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 1, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

First, the cameras are free, provided by the insurance company for at least the first year of operation.

Second, they come on only if the vehicle makes sudden changes in speed or direction. It doesn't come on just for the time right before a crash (although it would if the driver reacted in time). Hard braking or acceleration (drag racing, for example), or sudden swerving will turn it on. The examples I saw last night showed it coming on when a teen driver was using his cellphone while driving; he was swerving from side to side while he tried to drive and use the phone. Another example showed the driver drag racing another vehicle, and yes there were some crashes.

When the camera comes on, a signal is sent to the parent's computer and the video is transmitted, along with a rating as to how dangerous the maneuver was.

Hopefully after a few non-crash incidents like these, the parents can show the young driver why this action is dangerous and how to properly react in that situation, which would lead to better driving habits.

Personally, I wish this had been available 30 years ago. Perhaps my mother would still be alive now; she was killed by an inexperienced driver who lost control of her car, ran it into a ditch, then tried to "power out" of it and slammed right into the driver's door of my mom's VW. If the technology had been available then, maybe that driver would have realized prior to that situation what to do in that event, and been more careful behind the wheel. As it is, if it saves one life it's worth it.

Posted by: John | March 1, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

WorkingMom X

"Also, she hasn't totaled any cars or even gotten a speeding ticket. It's possible that if she had shown any propensity for distraction while driving, I'd be thinking other thoughts. But I don't know. I think we'd just restrict her driving privileges"

I certainly do agree with the first part of your post. I will have to tell you the story of my AF daughter who was stranded in Istanbul for 36 hrs by herself and what she did.

With your daughter having apparently driven for a number of years without incident, I would also agree that a camera is not necessary. The critical years for a driver is from time of license until about 20 as John points out. I can see great potential to record "near misses" and general driving behavior and further train the fledgling driver. Certainly we cannot protect our children from all bad things but in this instance I can see much good coming from it.

BTW, driving restrictions by the parents, back in my day, it was very easy to hotwire a car no matter where the parents hid the keys. (of course, I never did this, only my brothers!)

Posted by: Fred | March 1, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

"Admitting fault. Increased liability.

Your kid's at the wheel, and what you want to do is record this so that it can be used against him/her?

I don't get it."

I would be wary of accepting one from a insurance company but these cameras are available on the open market.

Posted by: Fred | March 1, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Somehow I think you may have hotwired a car in your day! I preferred not to get dirty and had a spare key made that the A.P.s knew nothing about.

Would love to hear about your daughter's adventures in Istanbul.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 1, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I think it depends on the child. My sister totaled one car about three months after getting her license. Two days after getting her license back from my parents a few months later, she was involved in a second accident (admittedly, it wasn't her fault, but a more experienced driver could have avoided it).

My sister could definitely have used the cam. I on the other hand, was so freaked out after watching my parents' reaction to her accidents that I didn't get my license until right before college.

The lingering fears of parental reaction, the additional couple of years before independent driving, and then driving in my smaller college town (instead of the DC area) made me less likely to be your typical teenage driver.

(Not saying I didn't make my stupid mistakes, but I saw how quickly and effectively my parents could take my "freedom" away, so I was cautious to not put a single scratch on my car.)

Posted by: Chasmosaur | March 1, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Working Mom X

I will post AF dau story on On Balance.

I would also like to quote the first half of your 9:17 post along with it.

Posted by: Fred | March 1, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Post away. Though I have a sneaking suspiscion it'll be at my own expense . . .

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 1, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

How about make it simpler? If a person isn't ready/ mature enough to be trusted to drive unsupervised, then they shouldn't have a license! There is no God-given 'right' for kids to have a license and a new SUV on their sixteenth birthday!

So, cameras? Disgusting, actually. You shouldn't need to spy on your kids. And, if you don't trust them enough, then they can wait on getting their wheels until they are 18 and can earn their own money for it (and when it is THEIR hard-earned money in that vehicle, they will probably take much better care of it than a vehicle which they have nothing personally invested in).

Posted by: Castor | March 1, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

If you've taught your children how to be good people, that actions have consequences and to care about others, cameras shouldn't be necessary. Unfortunately, children learn most by example. 95% of the drivers on the road today couldn't care less about the law or the cost in human life. I never know from day to day, if I'm going to make it to my destination safely or if someone is going to run a stop sign or stop light and kill me or, at the very least, do serious damage. When did it become okay to pick and choose the laws we obey?

Posted by: Lyrical Lady | March 1, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

The problem is that it's difficult to tell whether a 16 or 17 year old is "mature enough or responsible enough" to drive. Moreover, if that were the standard we held all drivers to, many adults wouldn't be allowed to drive.

Many teens start off as good drivers -- for the first couple months. Once they feel confident in their driving skills, they begin to take more risks. Defensive driving skills take years upon years to build up. Before a teen has such good skills, they need to be incredibly conservative which, unfortunately after the first few months of driving, they stop being.

I think that this camera can continue to force them to be conservative in their driving until such driving becomes a more ingrained habit and they become more experienced.

I'm not sure why people become obsessed with privacy issues for driving. I mean, it's not as if you're driving in your own room. You're driving out in public! Everyone else can see you! Duh!

Posted by: Ryan | March 1, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the thoughtful answers to my questions. While I appreciate the points, particularly Fred's comments about the ability to train based on near-misses, I still don't think I'd ever go for one of these. It's just not worth it to me. And it's not because I have an issue with "Spying" on my kids - ask them about their laptops!

While what happened to John's mother is indeed terrible, I just don't see a camera as providing any benefit in that area. The key is proper driver training - way beyond the 60 hours that Maryland requires, and into some serious defensive driving training.

Posted by: Army Brat | March 1, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

As touched on before, my big concern is how the data will be stored and/or used.

If I bought, own, and installed the camera, could the courts use the data against me (or my children)? If so, then I wouldn't want something like that. If the data were private and I could use it if (and only if) I wanted but nobody could force its use if I didn't want it, then it's great.

Posted by: Father of 2 | March 1, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

i don't get the revulsion about "spying on" kids. if you see my child doing something wrong please tell me especially if he is behind the wheel of vehicle that could have fatal consequences if handled incorrectly. remember when we were kids & there was a whole neighborhood of moms watching us or "spying on" us? for some of us that was enough to keep us out of trouble. if i don't think my child is mature enough to get a drivers license then he won't get one but not all parents will do that. of course, my son is 6 1/2, we'll see what i say in 9 years. this also requires each parent honestly take a look at their child & from what i've seen on this blog all our children are above average.

Posted by: quark | March 1, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

An earlier poster mentioned that parenting by setting a good example is key and mentioned allowing people to merge. What I don't get are those people who REFUSE to allow someone to merge. but I am an assiertive driver and I have come close to having an accident (goign 1 MPH in sto and go traffic, so not much real risk) because I insist on my right to merge! there is nothing that bugs me more than people that think they shouldn't have to go along with the "every other car" merge rule. I do it not just for myself but also for all those other cars that are behind me-- if I let the non-merger "get away with it" then I will need to take the spot that the car behind me was suposed to get and so forth. Last time i stood my gorund, my bumper touched the bumper of the "offending" care but i did get in-- I suppose I could have been shot though, she was so mad at me. And of course I got the finger, etc. When I'm goig faster, then I will back down, but at those speeds, I feel like no one is goign to get really hurt and I shouldn't back down. Maybe next time, I'll take pictures of the scene while it's happening to help defend myself if I get sued! The "other of car" thing is the law though isn't it? Not just a matter of something nice to do?

Posted by: friend | March 1, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

You said:

I'm not sure why people become obsessed with privacy issues for driving. I mean, it's not as if you're driving in your own room. You're driving out in public! Everyone else can see you! Duh!

Your comments remind me of a time while I was on maternity leave and we were living in a row house of Capitol hill with a park across the street. i'd spend hours every day in that park. At some point, there was a blimp circuling the neighborhood-- it circled so close to the ground, you could easily see someone leaning out at the bottom and taking photographs. I don't know if it was for security purposes (this was post 9-11) and it wasn't clear who was up there-- Capitol Police, Secret Service, a rich tourist? this was happening for a week and I said to a nanny at the park from Eastern europe, "I wonder what kind of an effect being spyed on would have on the development of our children's character? Doesn't it seem like their will never be any chance to truly develop a strong character because you KNOW you can never get away with something-- so you don't do it? Seems like you need an opportunity to actually test your character and that way the child will be confident that they are making the right choices not because they they know they could never get away with it, but because he or she has good character. the nanny said "nonsense, where I grew up we were always being spied on-- on the phone, the street, everywhere. As long as you behave you had nothing to worry about."

Her answer didn't satisfy me. Ryan, your ideas leave me with a similar queeziness. "those who would sacrifice their freedom for their security deserve neither." God Bless America and keep her free of Big Brother.

PS-- the blimp was gone after a couple of weeks.

Posted by: to ryan | March 1, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Legally merging is like changing lanes. If a sign says "Right Lane Ends", it is polite for drivers in the left lane to make space for drivers in the right lane to merge but it is not mandated by law.

It is the responsibility of the driver in the right lane to find a safe place to merge. The drivers already in the left lane have the right-of-way, the merging driver has no "right to merge".

Posted by: to friend | March 1, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Friend--those non-mergers get under my skin so badly. What is their ISSUE? like the 7 foot difference between merging and not is going to have an effect on how long your commute is. What it will effect, though is traffic. Traffic jams are generally caused by things like this! So they're steamed about the very traffic that they are helping cause by trying to "beat" the traffic. Insane.

Almost as bad, though are the buttinskis--the people who see a long line of traffic leading up to their exit and opt to just drive by it in an open lane and then hold up traffic in the (now previously open) late while trying to force their way into the clogged lane.

Wait your turn, let others have theirs, and we will all get home faster and safer.

Posted by: Cate | March 1, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

you would knowing destroy evidence of your child's wrong doing? what about stepping up to the plate & taking responsibility for it? good lesson you're teaching your child. didn't sheinbein's family fly their son to israel where he couldn't be extridited to have him avoid going to jail for the killing of that boy? what you're doing is no different.

Posted by: quark | March 1, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Friend and Cate,

I think "buttinskis" are the reason that "non-mergers" do what they do.

I used to be a "non-merger", because "buttinskis" infuriated me. I'm not exactly sure when, but somewhere along the line I decided that it was too stressful. So now I do the "take-turns" thing; as long as no one is behaving like a buttinski, Cate is absolutely right--we all get there faster and safer.

Now if I could just convince DH....

Posted by: to friend | March 1, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse


Did I miss something? I didn't see anyone suggesting destroying the evidence, just not collecting it in the first place (not having the camera).

Posted by: Jen | March 1, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

OK, shoot me but I am going to say it. I do think the an awful lot of people think teens, on average, are too young to drive. Just look at the statistics. So why do we offer them licenses? Because parents are tired of carting their kids around so much. Parents are thrilled not to have to run home and do car pooling. Or even better yet, let your teen drive themselves to part time jobs and activities. While your out their in our 20K car, please pick up younger sibling and drop them off at scouting or music lessons. If you have time, pick up the family dinner at old pizza hut. To be honest, I don't think teens need to be driving unless they live on a farm. We should be more encouraging of using public transportation, if you live in metro area like DC. Factor in driving and car pooling when deciding on extra curriculars. Just my opinion. If you need a camera in the car, maybe you are too young for the privilege of driving. Either way, have no issues on the spying thing. Would definitely have internet controls on DDs computer. But will think twice about letting her get a license at 16. Some may be old enough, some may not. Choose a house in walking distance to HS for that very same reason.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 1, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I do think that the footage from this camera could be subpoenaed by your or the other insurance company if there's an accident and a lawsuit. On the other hand, a teenage driver is likely to be blamed for an accident anyway, and this camera could provide evidence to exonerate him or her if in fact it was the other driver's fault.

Remember, too, if you've installed it in the family car, it will record your panic moves as well as your teen's.

It's kind of amusing to think about how valuably this technology could be applied in other contexts. Instead of installing it in the car, just insist that your teenager wear it around his neck. A pop quiz is announced but he hasn't done the reading? Panic move! A friend offers him some weed? Panic move! Etc....

Posted by: Tom T. | March 1, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

The problem is, raising the minimum age for getting a driver's license doesn't make new drivers any safer. It's the lack of experience behind the wheel that makes them so dangerous to themselves and others, not their age.

I learned to operate motor vehicles at a young age while growing up on a farm. Most teens no longer have that chance, so when they get behind the wheel of a car that's often their very first time controlling such a large and powerful machine. Even driver's ed isn't offered in many schools now, so that isn't even available for many young drivers.

No, having a camera in the car probably wouldn't have saved my mom that fateful day. If these cameras save someone else's life, though, I'd say they were worth the inconvenience to the teen drivers, knowing their driving ability was being monitored.

Posted by: John | March 1, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

John, yes and no. Teenagers are more likely to take on risk behaviors. Like or not, less fatalties after they raised the legal drinking age from 18 to 21. Some wisdom comes over time and some with life experience. You would have to look at the stats from people who got the first time DL after age 19 and those at 16. I think you will find the older they start, the less risk taking activities, they engage in. Unless you get your first DL after 65. LOL.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 1, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

If you advocate these cams for your teens, would you drive with one and then discuss with your teen or preteen when you may have done things that caused the camera to turn on? I agree with the posters who have said we need to show good driving by example, and this is just an extension of that technique. My children are 5 and 8 and they are definitely learning to drive already by the way I explain my driving and that of drivers in other cars. Or when I say, "Please don't talk to me right now. The traffic is heavy and I need to concentrate on driving safely." Or whatever is the reason I feel I need to reduce the distractions. A driver cam for me might be interesting fodder for discussion with my children when they are closer to driving age.

A side note, I did not get my license until I was 17. I was nervous at first, didn't do well in behind the wheel course at school, and my sister was going just about anywhere I was going, so it was no big deal--and she wasn't old enough to be my designated driver. But when she turned 18 and was six months from going to college, my parents told me that they weren't going to start driving me around again, and that I'd better learn. So my sister taught me, and she did a great job. She explained more than my parents had, and she understood some of the reasoning behind my driving actions, so she could talk to motivation as well as performance. Worked well for me.

Posted by: how about for your driving | March 1, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I would have no problems with driving with a camera as an aid to teaching my children. But as DH says, you drive like an old lady, I am not too worried about my risk taking or aggressive driving habits. Him on the other hand, is a totally different story....

Posted by: foamgnome | March 1, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I think this could be an excellent idea and a good teaching tool. I'm not sure of the specifics and couldn't be without reading the fine print of the insurance deal, but at face value, I see no problem with parents monitoring their children while they drive. Thats their job. There is a world of difference between a kid's "rights" with respect to their parents and an adult's rights with respect to the government.

Posted by: PPike | March 1, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Theres a second most dangerous time when someone learns to drive, which is about 1-2 years after they've been driving by themselves and they become "sophomoric" about it. You relax and pay a little less panicked attention to everything and this is where your second series of near misses comes into play. This camera system isn't going to help with that either.

What parents need to do is really spend a lot of time riding with their kids. And they need to restrict what their kids can do with the car. Want to minimize immediate fender benders--don't let them drive to school during the first month of school--I live near LBSS and its nothing but fender benders of kids driving by themselves who looked left or right and got distracted and got rearended or rearended someone else--police just stand in the median strip and deal with the nonsense. You don't need a camera to say that is a situation where a kid is gong to be excited to see who all is back and is dangerous for anyone in the neighborhood to drive at that time. Within a month they've gotten over the novelty factor.

Good private lessons were what my mom did (I didn't learn to drive until college and it was a huge huge mistake, I was on I-95 within 2 weeks of getting my license and in and out of DC, because I HAD to going to and from Richmond) but the private instructor focused really hard on how to get out of situations where people tend to hurt themselves--e.g. how to start back up from the side of a highway and merge back on properly, (do a little angle back on and speed back up using the shoulder if you turn your wheel hard you're going to get hurt) and i use that knowledge to this day.

In 1998 it was like $23/hr and it was well worth being the only person in the car. I did the DMV test, had never driven before and was fine. The other thing was my first vehicle was a light pickup truck (I'm a girl, it was lame) but it comfortably sat two people, had seatbelts for three. there was no party in my truck, it had awesome visibilty (the blindspots in a light truck are almost none, and its just not the vehicle people want to go hang out in, and its great for moving junk to college in, it also got me over any fear of fishtailing because of the lack of weight in the back of the RWD vehicle. The downside is it was horrible doing groceries in the thing.

You are the parent, you can influence a bunch of factors that your kid is in, put them in a safe vehicle that is not the one that everyone is dying to be around. (Make it a manual transmission and 95% of your kids friends won't even know how to drive it!!)

oh and my last soapbox statement. Force your kids to learn to drive a manual. You never know where they will be some night with someone who may end up driving one. (Think college date) If their date is a little boozed out or sprains an ankle you want your kid to be able to say "Hey I'm in great shape, how about I drive your loser self home and you not call me in the morning?" otherwise it can turn into a really scary night.

big soapbox sorry.

Posted by: ljb | March 1, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

"didn't sheinbein's family fly their son to israel where he couldn't be extridited to have him avoid going to jail for the killing of that boy?"

No, they sent him to Israel so we wouldn't get the death penalty. He is in jail in Israel.

Why gather data which could be used against your kids? Further, do I have a duty to provide evidence that harms my children? I know I cannot be forced to testify against my spouse.

Posted by: To quark | March 1, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I totally Agree those buttinskis area menace.

the merger situation I am talkign about are those where both lanes a re complately backed up and poking along and a pattern of "every other car" has developed, but someone decides they don't have to do that. I've seen it happen from folks on the left lane and the right lane-- doesn't matter whether the sign says "merge" and often there is no sign that says "merge" but people get some bug up their butt and don't want to do what everyone else is going along with. Actually, the buttinskis are probably worse though. It actually happens more often and it is much more dangerous and rude because the stakes are higher-- the buttinski can get as much as a half mile jump on all the poor shulbs who actually did what they were supposed to and by hanging their pathetic ass in the lane of traffic they are trying to get out of they block traffic obviously speedier traffic (they wouldn't be in that lane if it weren't going fast than the lane they want into). The peopel that won't "allow" (I still think it is required-- especially where iti s clear that everyone is doing it because both lanes are backed up) isn't going to cause a mojor accident and it is really all over 7 stupid feet, not a half-mile "sneak".

Posted by: Neighbor | March 1, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"to ryan", I think the phrase you are looking for is "character is what you do when no one is watching."

The issue is, if someone is always watchhing you, can you ever develop character?

Has anyone ever researched this? Studied the character development of children who grow up in conditions where they are constantly watched over?

Posted by: John | March 1, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I can only triple ditto what JJ said- if our parents actually taught the kids the good values and showed themselves to be responsible drivers themselves, it would be much better.

Posted by: Liz D | March 1, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

inch by inch.. remember george orwell...
right now these cameras are offered as a good idea. how soon before their in everyones car. what's next let's put cameras on all criminals and track them ..we could stop 2nd offences .at least
lower the rate. lets install tracking devices in our kids ... no more lost kids.
and due to increased health care costs... all employees will have to have gps units
implanted so we can see if your really at home sick.corparate america announced today
that along with the gps units that small cameras will be inserted in all employees
so we can see that your not smoking or drinking and that your eating right know we must increase our profit margin.. ALL SOUNDS PRETTY CRAZY YOU SAY....TODAY YES...FIVE YEARS,MAYBE...TWENTY YEARS ?
FOR YOUR CHILDRENS CHILDREN. Are any of you so naive as to think the insurance cos.
are offering this for any reason other than profit. inch just keep giving it away GOD BLESS AMERICA...WHAT'S LEFT OF IT ANYWAY

Posted by: Anonymous | March 24, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2010 The Washington Post Company