Can Black Box Technology Succeed Where Graduated Teen Licensing Has Been Unsuccessful?


November 06, 2012

The high rate of teen accidents and high teen fatality rate in car accidents is an issue that all fifty states and the District of Columbia have worked aggressively to try to address.

States have enacted a number of laws aimed at preventing teen driving accidents. These legislative measures include:

  • Graduated Driver’s License Programs: These programs grant driving privileges in stages allowing teen drivers to gain more driving experience before granting full driving privileges. Georgia’s graduated driver’s license program includes such limits as restricting passengers and nighttime driving for new teen drivers.
  • Teen DUI Laws: Many states have a much lower threshold for DUI for underage drivers and more extensive penalties. Many states have what are essentially zero tolerance laws for teen drinking and driving by setting limits at .02 percent BAC.
  • Parental Responsibility Laws: Some states require a parent to sign the driver’s license application for their child. If the child is involved in a motor vehicle accident, the parent may be liable for his or her child’s negligence. While some states that require parents to sign their child’s driver’s license application cap the amount of parental liability, some states do not impose maximum amounts of liability.

While these laws have long been believed to have reduced teen driving accidents, a new study has called into question the effectiveness of these legal measures to reduce the risk of teen accidents caused by inexperienced and immature drivers. The study, which we wrote about previously in this blog, indicates that these restrictions do work to reduce teen crashes when a teenager is initially granted restricted driving privileges.

Unfortunately, results of the study also indicate that these legislative changes only delay increased teenage accidents until drivers receive full driving privileges in later teenage years (18-19). According to the research, teen accident rates actually increased for drivers who were in the 18-19 age range after receiving full driving privileges under graduated license programs as compared to teen accident rates prior to instituting a GDL program.

A new study conducted by the National Highway Insurance Institute suggests that black box technology is a way to succeed where the law may have failed. Vehicles in the study were equipped with black box data recorders that monitored sudden braking, speeding, seatbelt use and sudden acceleration. The data was communicated to parents by way of a report card that was sent and posting of the data on a website. Teen drivers adjusted their driving knowing that their parents were receiving the data. Almost all of the parents that participated indicated that they would recommend the technology for other parents. While that may not be surprising, almost ninety percent of the teen drivers also indicated that they felt that the black boxes affected their driving in a positive way.

While there is no single solution that will make our kids safe when they are driving, this combination of laws and technology may help protect our kids. If you or a loved one is involved in a Georgia car accident with a teen driver, Montlick and Associates will provide you with a free consultation to discuss your rights to compensation and the steps that are necessary to protect those rights. Our Georgia auto accident lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.