Sharing dash cam footage with parents could cut crash rates among young drivers, says report

Young drivers’ cars should be fitted with cameras and black box technology, and the information made available to their families, according to a new report.

With young people accounting for a disproportionately high number of deaths and serious injuries on the roads, it’s thought the move could encourage new drivers to take more care.

US research suggests that the use of dash cams and devices that record erratic acceleration can reduce bad driving by young people if they know the evidence will be shared with their parents.

The RAC Foundation report by Dr Bruce Simons-Morton says that through this technology adults can have a permanent presence in the car, even after novices have passed their tests.

The report notes that while newly qualified young drivers can drive relatively safely when they are accompanied by their parents or other adults, they tend to undertake more risky behaviour when that adult figure is absent.

A car driving down a motorway at sunset
This inclination to ‘elect’ to drive more carelessly is compounded by young drivers’ tendency to be easily distracted.

In many cases, young drivers’ parents effectively control the keys to the car because they have paid for it and cover running costs such as insurance.

And Dr Simons-Morton says that if new young drivers believe that what they do at the wheel will get back to their parents, they are likely to moderate their behaviour for fear of losing their new freedom and privileges.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, commented: “This report doesn’t suggest that dash cam footage replaces Strictly or The Voice as regular Saturday night family viewing, but it does argue that greater parental appreciation of what their children get up behind the wheel can be beneficial.

“Whilst teenagers may baulk at the idea of mum and dad effectively supervising their every trip, a constant parental presence, delivered through technology, has been shown to moderate risky behaviour behind the wheel.

“Every parent of a young driver wants their child to drive safely without having to be in the car themselves, but through ‘black box’ telematics and dash cam technology virtual supervision can have a big impact.”

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