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The Real Deal

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The Real Deal: Tracking Teen Drivers

Updated: Wednesday, May 21 2014, 11:23 PM EDT

GUILDERLAND--How safe is your young driver behind the wheel?  We'd all like to think our teenagers are responsible when they leave the driveway but how can you be sure?
 
GPS technology available for around $200 can tell you everything you need to know about where your young driver is going and how fast he or she is getting there.  With the help of a local family, CBS6 Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke put it to the test.
 
18-year old Jack Hale is the quintessential high school senior, he gets good grades, plays sports and has a lot of friends; he also loves being able to get in his car and hit the road now that he has his driver's license.  "Every once and a while you have to say, watch your speed, watch your speed, tell him what he's doing, I'm sure he gets annoyed but he knows it's all for good but overall I think he's a really good driver," says Kevin Hale, Jack's dad.  But like most parents, Kevin and his wife Suzanne still worry, "he has friends who within three months of having their license have had it suspended for having too many accidents or too many tickets," she says.
 
The Hales agreed to place a GPS tracking device on Jack's car.  The device plugs into the OBD port of any car made after 1996 and monitors speed, location, starts and stops and miles traveled.  Parents can also set up geo-fences and get a text message or email alert when the car travels outside that set parameters of the fence.   Once Jack had been driving around for a week with the device activated on his car, his parents told him it was there.
 
"I think I'm a decent driver, I'm not terrible but I'm not excellent...my speed varies, it depends I guess," Jack told CBS6 just a few seconds after being told he had been tracked.  When asked whether he was nervous about the results he said, "Um, a little bit."  Jack doesn't go far in his car on any given day, "pretty much school and now work then back home, friend's house.. that's about it," he says.  
 
So, how well is he driving that route?  The tracker showed everywhere he had been and the route he took to get there.  "that's the Recovery Room where we go to watch sports, right across the street is where I get my haircut so that's why I've been there a number of times," Jack said while reviewing the data with his parents.  If the addresses didn't seem familiar, the map was switched into satellite view and all the sudden it dawned on him where he'd been.   The data from the tracker showed that Jack didn't go anywhere he wasn't supposed to but how did he do when it comes to his dad's biggest worry?  "Speed looks good, you're right around or under the limit" Kevin said to Jack while reviewing the data.  In fact, there was just one time, in the entire week that Jack was three miles above the speed limit, other than that he was at or below it.
 
"I'm very proud of him, this is why we agreed to do this... We trust him and think he's a responsible driver and he's made us proud by proving it," Kevin says.  When asked whether he thought the technology would be useful for other teenage drivers or if was intrusive, Jake says, " I think kind of in the middle, I think it could be helpful for some people but I'm annoyed they didn't tell me."
 
The GPS used to track Jack's driving is from an online company called GPS&Track.com.  The owner of the company, Michael Fischer told CBS6 that although these GPS trackers are basically fleet devices mostly used by businesses to keep track of their fleet and drivers, over the past few years, parents have become a large client base.  

The Real Deal: Tracking Teen Drivers


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Hello and thank you for stopping by The Real Deal web-page! I'm hoping you'll find some useful information here. I (Jennifer Lewke) will be updating this page daily to bring you the latest news on anything and everything that may impact your wallet. Whether it's a bad business trying to rip you off, a contractor who took your money and ran, the government wasting your tax dollars, or a telemarketer who just won't stop calling, my goal is to uncover it and hopefully prevent it from happening again!

On the right-hand side of this page, you'll see a section labled "Links" --these will all take you to websites for organizations that help protect consumers. Most of the groups have the authority to fine or shut down bad businesses so it's important to file the proper complaints to get some action.

I'm happy to look into any issue you have to get you the Real Deal. You can reach me anytime at (518) 381-4992 or by email at jlewke@wrgb.com. I hope to hear from you soon!

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