In-vehicle monitoring & feedback for teen drivers and families

In-vehicle monitoring and feedback devices capture and report on driving performance, and are often used for novice teen drivers. Immediate in-vehicle feedback technology uses lights or sounds to alert drivers of unsafe driving, such as high g-force events caused by rapid acceleration, braking, or turning. Such devices can also capture other safety-related information, including speeding, seat belt use, or cell phone use (US DOT-IVPMF). Drivers can also receive reports about their driving performance via text or email, and families of novice teen drivers can review driving performance through reports, individualized summaries and tips, or video recordings (Simons-Morton 2013, Farah 2013*). The monitoring devices can be installed by private vendors or car insurance companies, or can be built into some newer vehicles; smart phones may also be used to provide monitoring and feedback. In-vehicle monitoring and feedback is also sometimes used by businesses and insurers to monitor commercial drivers and car insurance customers (US DOT-IVPMF).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes (Rated)

  • Increased driving safety

Other Potential Beneficial Outcomes

  • Reduced crashes

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is some evidence that immediate in-vehicle driving feedback for novice teen drivers, in the form of warnings or alarms and paired with delayed feedback for their families, reduces risky driving behaviors such as speeding and high g-force events (e.g., sudden acceleration, braking, and turning) (Simons-Morton 2013, Farah 2013*, Farmer 2010b*, Klauer 2016*). However, additional evidence is needed to confirm effects on driving behavior and determine effects on crash rates.

Immediate feedback paired with videos of high g-force events and driving report cards sent to families appear to reduce the frequency of g-force events (Simons-Morton 2013, McGehee 2007*, Carney 2010*), while immediate feedback for drivers without reports for families may not (Simons-Morton 2013). Effects appear to be stronger for teen drivers with a history of higher rates of g-force events (Carney 2010*, Musicant 2010*, McGehee 2007*); these higher-risk drivers, however, may only reduce rapid turning and acceleration during the parental monitoring period (Carney 2010*). Such paired interventions may teach drivers to scan for and react to hazards, which may reduce abrupt braking even after in-vehicle feedback ends (Carney 2010*, McGehee 2007*).  

Parental monitoring, along with guidance on engaging with their teen driver’s behavior, may have stronger effects on reduction of high g-force events compared to immediate feedback to drivers only (Farah 2013*). Receiving alert sounds for speeding or unbelted driving, combined with parental notification, may reduce such risky behaviors among teen drivers (Farmer 2010b*). Teen drivers who receive in-vehicle crash alerts from manufacturer built-in features, without parental monitoring, may reduce unsignaled lane change and lateral drifts, but increase following at a close distance compared to their peers who do not receive such alerts (Jermakian 2017*).

Immediate in-vehicle monitoring and feedback may also improve adults’ driving behavior; studies report decreases in risky driving among commercial vehicle drivers when combined with safe driving coaching (Bell 2017a*) and short-term effects on reduced speeding among adult drivers with speeding violations (De Leonardis 2014*).

Impact on Disparities

No impact on disparities likely

Implementation Examples

Since 2009, many car manufacturers have developed and implemented teen driving monitoring technology on select vehicles; examples of such in-vehicle systems include Ford’s MyKey, General Motors’ Teen Driver, Hyundai’s BlueLink, and Kia’s Uvo (IIHS-Weast 2020, Krome 2018). Parents of teen drivers can also install an electronic device or a mobile app-based tracking system in their child’s car individually or via a car insurance company’s tracking device program (Vincent 2018). The cost of monitoring devices varies by its features and services (US DOT-IVPMF).

Implementation Resources

US DOT-IVPMF - US Department of Transportation (US DOT). In-vehicle performance monitoring and feedback (IVPMF).

NIOSH-IVMS 2020 - The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Center for Motor Vehicle Safety. All about in-vehicle monitoring systems (IVMS). Behind the Wheel at Work. Vol 5, No 1, March 2020.

IIHS-Teenagers - Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Teenagers.

IIHS-Parents - Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Beginning teen drivers: What parents need to know.

Citations - Evidence

* Journal subscription may be required for access.

Simons-Morton 2013 - Simons-Morton BG, Bingham CR, Ouimet MC, et al. The effect on teenage risky driving of feedback from a safety monitoring system: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2013;53(1):21–6.

Farah 2013* - Farah H, Musicant O, Shimshoni Y, et al. The first year of driving: Can an in-vehicle data recorder and parental involvement make it safer? Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board. 2013;2327:26–33.

Farmer 2010b* - Farmer CM, Kirley BB, McCartt AT. Effects of in-vehicle monitoring on the driving behavior of teenagers. Journal of Safety Research. 2010;41(1):39–45.

Klauer 2016* - Klauer SG, Sayer TB, Baynes P, Ankem G. Using real-time and post hoc feedback to improve driving safety for novice drivers. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. 2016:1929-1933.

McGehee 2007* - McGehee DV, Raby M, Carney C, Lee JD, Reyes ML. Extending parental mentoring using an event-triggered video intervention in rural teen drivers. Journal of Safety Research. 2007;38(2):215–27.

Carney 2010* - Carney C, McGehee D V, Lee JD, Reyes ML, Raby M. Using an event-triggered video intervention system to expand the supervised learning of newly licensed adolescent drivers. American Journal of Public Health. 2010;100(6):1101–6.

Musicant 2010* - Musicant O, Lampel L. When technology tells novice drivers how to drive. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board. 2010;2182:8–15.

Jermakian 2017* - Jermakian JS, Bao S, Buonarosa ML, Sayer JR, Farmer CM. Effects of an integrated collision warning system on teenage driver behavior. Journal of Safety Research. 2017;61:65-75.

Bell 2017a* - Bell JL, Taylor MA, Chen GX, Kirk RD, Leatherman ER. Evaluation of an in-vehicle monitoring system (IVMS) to reduce risky driving behaviors in commercial drivers: Comparison of in-cab warning lights and supervisory coaching with videos of driving behavior. Journal of Safety Research. 2017;60:125-136.

De Leonardis 2014* - De Leonardis D, Robinson E, Huey R, Atkins R. Threshold effects of speed-monitoring devices on the speeding behavior of drivers. Transportation Research Record. 2014;2425(1):17-24.

Citations - Implementation Examples

* Journal subscription may be required for access.

IIHS-Weast 2020 - Weast RA, Jenness JW, De Leonardis D. Salesperson knowledge of teen-specific vehicle safety features. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). May 2020.

Krome 2018 - Krome C. 10 cars with teenage driving monitoring devices. Autobytel. 2018.

Vincent 2018 - Vincent JM, Threewitt C. How do those car insurance tracking devices work? US News. February 26, 2018.

US DOT-IVPMF - US Department of Transportation (US DOT). In-vehicle performance monitoring and feedback (IVPMF).

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