Find my Young Driver – New Tracking Technology and Possible Privacy Concerns

Have you ever wished you could control how fast your teen drives? Or could find out where they are REALLY going when they say they’re “going to a friend’s”? As automobile technology continues to advance, these types of features are appearing more and more in new vehicles. There are a few different systems, but they all allow some sort of added control and monitoring of the vehicle.

Ford Car Key, MyKey Ford MyKey – This is a vehicle security system that is contained in the key itself. As with most of these programs, it is targeted to parents looking to monitor their young driver(s). MyKey is now a standard feature in Ford models. It allows parents to control the speed of the vehicle and audio volume, mute audio when seatbelts are not buckled, and starting with the 2012 Ford Explorer, send all incoming calls and texts for later review.

Hyundai Blue LinkHyundai Blue Link – Hyundai’s Blue Link technology also offers parental control features. Geo-Fence allows parents to set geographic parameters for the vehicle that, if violated, will result in the parent being alerted. Curfew alerts and speed alerts are also offered, which warn parents when a set curfew or speed limit is surpassed. Blue Link is now available in all Hyundai vehicles.

OnStar Family LinkOnStar Family Link – Created for parents who want to know where their young drivers go, Family Link provides a Vehicle Locate feature that tracks the vehicle at all times. By logging into the OnStar Family Link website, parents can see the real-time location of all the connected vehicles. They can also receive Vehicle Location Alerts via email or text at intervals of their choice that provide the location of each vehicle. Features such as speed monitoring or geo-fencing are not currently offered.

The response to these types of programs has been mixed. Ford has said its market research shows 75 percent of parents like speed and audio limits, but, as can be expected, 67 percent of teens find them intrusive. The technology has also been seen as a way to increase freedom for young drivers, since parents have more control over their safety than before. According to a survey by Harris Interactive, if using such technology would lead to greater driving privileges, only 36 percent of teens are against it. As with any privacy-related innovation, the tools have been cause for some backlash from young drivers and organizations interested in individual civil liberties. But for the most part people are finding the technology helpful and a way to keep their children safe…and who can argue with that?