Auto insurance

Build trust if you use a tracking device

Tuesday, June 10, 2014by  Jon Osterberg

Consumers now can choose from several GPS tracking devices that plug into your car and monitor driving behavior.
   Yakima-area residents saw three such devices reviewed in a KIMA-TV report June 5. The gizmos range from $80 to $150 and capture data that shows location, speed, fast acceleration, and hard braking.
   KIMA’s story was framed around teen-fatality statistics and driving safety. Naturally, that angle captivated teen drivers’ parents, the presumed key market for such devices.
   “Don’t think of it as spying on your teen, but coaching them to be a better driver,” said a Consumer Reports editor.
   Easier said than done.
   If you opt for a tracking device, we recommend full disclosure with your teen driver:

  • Review what’s required by Washington’s and Oregon’s intermediate-license laws.
  • Have an honest conversation where you discuss the seriousness of safely driving a car. Set clear expectations for driving behavior, and discuss consequences.
  • Agree on a teen-driving contract that outlines those expectations and consequences. No surprises.
  • Tell your teen driver why you're installing a tracking device, and use it as a foundation on which to build trust. Using it strictly as a punitive tool likely would be counterproductive.

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