To help parents monitor their young drivers, American Family Insurance is offering its customers the option to have a small video camera installed in their childrens' vehicles, free of charge. According to The Kansas City Star, the camera, which is mounted on the rearview mirror, records views of the person behind the wheel, and of the road ahead. If a driver makes an irregular move -- like whipping into another lane, stomping the brakes or crashing into something -- an analyst for DriveCam, Inc., the video firm behind this technology, can view a 20-second clip. After looking at the moments before, during and after the accident, the analyst determines whether or not the video should be sent to the teen's parents. Sandra Spann, a spokeswoman from the insurance company, told the Star that this video footage isn't typically used to settle claims or determine liability for customers. Instead, the idea is for parents and teens to sit down, look at the footage, and discuss what the teen was doing wrong, so that he or she doesn't make the same mistake in the future.
Of course, teens want their privacy and freedom behind the wheel. Driving unaccompanied is a rite of passage, and the fact that the DriveCam is always recording will likely annoy young drivers. But parents will only see footage from inside the car if their teen makes a mistake behind the wheel. Sorry kids, but you can't cry privacy violation as your folks watch you plowing over a mailbox because you were texting on your iPhone.