Car Cameras

My friend has three very active teenage sons and yesterday the youngest got his driver’s license. She and her husband say they may never sleep again. I don’t blame them. Their oldest son has gotten into two fender-benders (both while he was talking on a cell phone) and their middle son recently ripped the side-view mirror off one of the cars while he was backing out of the driveway (he misjudged the distance between the mirror and the basketball pole). Their car insurance premium is through the roof and getting the third son on their policy was nothing less than a miracle.

If you share in their despair, then here’s an idea you may consider: Car cameras. My mother is an insurance agent and told me about the idea when she got back from her annual conference. I shared it with my friend and now they are considering it their last hope. (Her husband’s exact comment was: “At this point what do we have to lose?”)

My friends lucked out because American Family Insurance is currently offering to install dual-direction cameras to rearview mirrors of drivers at a high school in our area. For three months (nine months if you are an American Family Insurance customer) parents can “virtually” ride along with their teenage drivers. The cameras will be installed at no cost as part of a trail run to see if it will affect the way teens drive. The cameras are activated when the car swerves or stops suddenly, recording the 10 seconds before and after and e-mailing it to the driver’s parents. A similar experiment at a Minnesota high school found 70 percent triggered the camera at least once.

My friend’s eldest son says knowing his parents will see any poor driving is incentive to be a cautious driver. We’ll see if he stays true to his word… his parents signed up for the service today.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.