For many parents, the prospect of a teenage son or daughter getting his or her license is simply terrifying. Teen drivers are notorious for engaging in risky behavior while driving, from texting and talking on the phone to driving under the influence. Unfortunately, many teens don’t have the necessary experience to be safe on the road. With the odds stacked against them, how can parents ensure their teens are driving safely? Two parents, Jaideep and Sandhya Jain, have created a solution to this problem. Called Truvolo, this device tracks both car and driver, allowing parents to monitor their teens’ driving habits.
What Is Truvolo?
Developed by the Jains, two parents with careers in the tech world, Truvolo is a device that connects to both the computer in your car and your mobile device via Bluetooth. While the physical transmitter plugs into your vehicle’s On-Board Diagnostic port, information is gathered on your phone or tablet via an Android-based app. Truvolo uses the mobile device’s data connection to monitor location via GPS and to upload data. You can then view reports on this data through the app on your mobile device.
Truvolo is similar to many other auto diagnostics tools on the market in that it monitors the status of your vehicle, including fuel level and scheduled maintenance. It also has a built-in accelerometer, which monitors G-force to keep track of swerving, abrupt braking, and acceleration. It sends alerts when your vehicle has a problem, and it allows you to track expenses for a business trip. However, what is most unique about Truvolo is the fact that it tracks both multiple vehicles and individual drivers. Because it connects through your mobile device, Truvolo collects data on each individual driver, providing a rating on how well they are driving.
Although the Jains sought funding through an Indiegogo campaign, they failed to meet their target. However, they are now seeking Series A funding that will allow them to ship their first products in July. Truvolo is priced at $99, and can be pre-ordered online. While there are many other, similar devices competing with Truvolo, investors believe the market for these types of devices is growing rapidly.
How Does It Help Teens Drive More Safely?
Of course, the most important question about Truvolo is how does it help teens drive more safely? By tracking a teen’s driving habits, Truvolo acts as a teaching tool for parents. It collects data on each individual driver and provides a rating. This rating system is scored from 1-5, with 1 indicating that a teen is dangerous on the road, and 5 indicating that he or she is safe enough to drive an ambulance.
In addition, Truvolo can be programmed to send alerts based on your own criteria – for example, if your teen was speeding, Truvolo could send an alert in addition to decreasing his or her driving score. You are then able to have a conversation with your teen about a specific driving concern, even if you were not in the car to see it happen. Truvolo provides parents with a set of eyes and ears no matter where or when their teens are driving, allowing them to be better teachers to the young drivers in their homes.
Statistics on Teen Driving Safety
A few key statistics on teen driving in the U.S. show how important devices such as Truvolo are to keeping teens safe on the road:
- The number one cause of death for teens is motor vehicle crashes.
- Teen drivers are three times as likely as drivers 20 and older to die in a crash.
- In 2010, 2,700 teens were killed in motor vehicle crashes, and nearly 282,000 were treated in an emergency room for injuries they incurred in a crash.
- Also in 2010, 7 teen drivers died every day due to an accident on the road.
- Those at the highest risk for dying in a motor vehicle crash are males ages 16-19, teens driving with other teens in the car, and teens newly licensed.
The Role of Driver Education
Despite these harrowing statistics on teen drivers, research shows that driver’s education is a successful tool in preventing teens from engaging in risky behaviors and being involved in motor vehicle crashes. In fact, studies show that in most cases, when teens complete a comprehensive driver’s licensing program, their risk for being involved in a fatal crash drops 38%, and their risk for being involved in a crash leading to injury drops 40%. With driver’s education programs that teens enjoy and devices such as Truvolo to monitor their post-licensing progress, parents can ensure their teens are safer on the road.
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