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Does Surveillance Lead to Safety?


Photo by Lianhao Qu on Unsplash

When you are a teenager, getting your license (and having access to a car) can be synonymous with freedom. For the first time, you don't have to rely on others to get you places, and at a time in your life where privacy is a top concern, sitting behind the wheel of a car gives you access to a space that is all yours. Or... at least it was. As reported on by James Fossdyke for Motor1, a recent study has suggested that, in order to improve safety for young drivers on the road, 'black box' insurance policies and dashcams that are shared with parents may be the way to go.

Black box insurance policies involve the installation of a device, the black box, that monitors speed and that can pick up on and record dangerous maneuvers. That information is then passed back to insurance companies and insurance holders (in this case, parents). The use of a dashcam, on the other hand, would record everything that goes on while the vehicle is in motion.

"... arming parents with the data this technology provides can make young drivers reduce the risks they take on the road. However, the study confesses that such a measure would require buy-in from parents, who would have to use the data available to shape their child's behaviour."

The RAC foundation, who prompted the study, argue that, while teenagers may not like being surveilled, the end result is that young drivers remain safer on the road.

The moral implications are considerable, though. At its core, there is a serious question that needs to be asked - how do we create a safe driving culture that is based on an understanding of our relationship to other drivers? While installing a dash cam so that you can watch your teen while they are driving may provide short-term results, what happens when teens are teens no more, and no longer have parents watching their every move while they are behind the wheel. Instruction that is based on fear of parental disapproval might not be the best way to shape the adult drivers of the future.

The original piece by James Fossdyke can be read at Motor1 UK.