Parents Buy In-Car Spy

Glenn Swanson
by Glenn Swanson

According to Tecnoride, Safeco Insurance is prototyping a black box which will rat out young drivers who run afoul of their parents driving rules. Safeco's "Safety Beacon" contains a GPS unit to clock speed and location, and a phone system to alert concerned parents. If the driver operates the car outside of several preset boundaries, the gadget can trigger an email notification to parents, along with a text message to the offending party. An Instant Locate feature allows parents to find a Beacon-equipped car (via phone or the ‘net), but it’s “not a breadcrumb-tracking device”. Safeco spokesperson Jim Havens says Beta tests indicate that teens become "better drivers" and transgressions "quickly fall off.” So, can parents expect lower insurance rates as an incentive to sign-up for a $15 a month subscription? “Lower rates, like raising rates, is typically the province of state insurance departments” says Havens. As 007 would say, you must be joking.

Glenn Swanson
Glenn Swanson

Glenn is a baby-boomer, born in 1954. Along with his wife, he makes his home in Connecticut. Employed in the public sector as an Information Tedchnology Specialist, Glenn has long been a car fan. Past rides have included heavy iron such as a 1967 GTO, to a V8 T-Bird. In between those high-horsepower cars, he's owned a pair of BMW 320i's. Now, with a daily commute of 40 miles, his concession to MPG dictates the ownership of a 2006 Honda Civic coupe which, while fun to drive, is a modest car for a pistonhead. As an avid reader, Glenn enjoys TTAC, along with many other auto-realated sites, and the occasional good book. As an avid electronic junkie, Glenn holds an Advanced Class amateur ("ham") radio license, and is into many things electronic. From a satellite radio and portable GPS unit in the cars, to a modest home theater system and radio-intercom in his home, if it's run by the movement of electrons, he's interested. :-)

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4 of 14 comments
  • Luther Luther on Aug 15, 2007

    Actually, having a daughter, I would prefer a back-seat heat detector alarm.

  • Kansei Kansei on Aug 15, 2007

    How about we just ban bad parents from having children.. teach your kids to be responsible and resist peer pressure and you won't have to use this BS device.

  • Nopanegain Nopanegain on Aug 15, 2007

    A similar device has been available at aftermarket car audio dealers under the Viper/Clifford/Hornet brands of Directed Electronics. I would not be surprised if Safeco sources the unit from Directed. But, in reality, all you can do is hope you did a good job raising your children. My father installed a similar system in me by stating "Son, I know about cars. And I'll know if you have been beating on yours. And I'll take the damn keys away." I still drive like an egg is under the accelerator on a daily basis...

  • The Ninjalectual The Ninjalectual on Aug 16, 2007

    I wonder if she's 18. She'd be cute once you get underneath that mane. I'd get in the backseat of that Hyundai anywhere (under the speed limit).