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Will tech spying on your teens help them drive safely?
On Wednesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo approved Esurance's plan to offer a device called DriveSafe free to all Esurance customers. While there's no shortage of apps that can disable a driver's smart phone (the military and even churches have been jamming cell phone signals for a while now), DriveSafe is is way more than just a cell phone blocking device,.
The DriveSafe device can be inserted into the onboard diagnostics port of any non-hybrid/electric car made after 1996. The device communicates via Bluetooth with the Esurance smart phone app. Parents can then fine-tune what their kids' phones can do. "Customize block lists so they can't tweet but can still access navigation apps and receive calls from you," Esurance suggests. Or simply disable texting. Parents can literally do anything they want. Regardless of what parents do, the phones will still be able to call 911.
The device not only limits cell phone use, it also tracks every aspect of a teen's drive: how fast they went, how quickly they accelerated, how hard they braked, and where they went. It's basically the one telematics device to rule them all.
After a teen has gone for a drive, parents receive a message like this one:
Don't worry if your child tries to remove this device from the car Mom and Dad get a notification alerting them.
The same device is available under the associated Allstate brand and also offered by State Farm - but not to worry if your insurance company doesn't offer this - A device called Cellcontrol can do a lot of the same things.
Some distracted driving facts
Parental spying just got a whole lot easier. And the online response to privacy advocates? Teens, get used to it. This is America; someone is going to be spying on you for the rest of your life.
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