One of a parent’s most stressful moments is to hand the car keys to their teenager, given South Africa’s abysmal road safety record with over 14 000 deaths a year.
The most vulnerable age group for fatal vehicle accidents is between the ages of 15 to 29, and inexperience, drunk driving and a general disregard for the rules of the road are cited as some of the main reasons for the carnage among our youth.
Vehicle tracking therefore provides some peace of mind as a plausible solution to keeping track of your child.
Today, many tracking units utilise Global Positioning System (GPS) technology that will provide parents with information and at an affordable price.
“Besides being able to pinpoint the exact location of a vehicle in real-time, telematics is also able to provide an accurate recount of the vehicle’s movements and how and when it was driven,” says John Edmeston, Managing Director of Cartrack, a vehicle tracking service provider. It also allows you to monitor the speed at which the vehicle is driven and will even tell you whether the driver is accelerating, braking or cornering hard
BIG BROTHER APPROACH
“Far from wanting a ‘big brother’ approach, being able to know that your child is safe, driving responsibly and can be located quickly if they need help or assistance is a huge comfort,” he says.
Additionally, if a young driver’s road-using habits are shown to be good via a telematics unit, it can lead to cheaper insurance cover, which is notoriously expensive for an 18-year-old driver.
While vehicle tracking provides the perfect tool it does, however, open a whole can of worms when it comes to the issue of trust. “It is always a good idea to have an open and honest discussion with all family members. Explain the risks that are involved and if need be, use the statistics to emphasize the danger of drunken driving, speeding and criminal elements such as hijackings and your child’s vehicle possibly being stolen,” Edmeston says.
“While your child will most likely understand the reasoning behind the installation of a vehicle tracking unit, it will also set a clear parameter in which he or she can operate without it feeling like you are checking on them,” he adds.
A GPS tracking unit offers geo-fencing that sets a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographical area.
“If you discuss the locations that you expect your child to be at certain times, then you can set a geo-fence on their travelling location that will alert you if the vehicle was to move outside the perimeter.”
The pure tracking component of the unit allows for the vehicle to be recovered in the event of it being stolen, but it also provides an online portal that will allow the family to log on from any location to check where the vehicle is.
“When it is two in the morning and you don’t know where your child is, this can prove to be a lifesaver,” he says. -Star Motoring