While parents can’t be with their children all the time, CarChip can help them to be better drivers and give parents peace of mind. This write-up tells you more…
By Mark Hoerrner
It’s the car buddy of the future. Originally designed as an attractive in-vehicle component for business and commercial vehicles, CarChip is finding some applications in the teen community.
For parents, nothing can be more nerve-wracking than a new driver in the house. With CarChip, they can monitor how much a car is used, the speeds it travels, engine concerns, and even when the car makes hard starts or stops. With car accidents being the No. 1 killer of teens in America, the device may lead to improved driving and keep young drivers safer.
Consumer Reports noted that ‘young drivers’ limited experience and immaturity have proven to be a dangerous combination. The hazard is so great that car crashes are deemed the leading public health problem facing teenagers, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics show 5,896 people between 16 and 20 years of age died from motor vehicle crashes in 2004. Another 456,000 were injured.”
CarChip is manufactured by Davis Instruments Corp. in Hayward, Calif., and retails for $139. It comes in a couple of different manifestations beginning with the CarChip, which can store 75 hours of vehicle operation; the CarChip E/X, which ups that to 300 hours and adds the ability to monitor up to 23 different user-defined engine processes such as RPMs, Fuel Pressure, Fuel System Status, Air Flow and more; and an E/X version that comes with an alarm. The increase in price is nominal, however, as the E/X model is $179 and the E/X Alarm version is $199.
An article in the Chicago Tribune noted that some parents are finding the device to be the best way to put a new driver on the road. One family in Maryland used the chip for their son, Ben, when he was first driving. “It annoyed the heck out of him,” Susan Schauer, a mother of three, told the Chicago Tribune. “But it gave me peace of mind.” After a year or so, the family felt Ben’s driving was mature enough not to need the chip, and the parents allowed him to drive without it. Ben may have felt like his parents were always there in the car with him, watching, judging, but the device allowed Ben to develop positive driving habits.
Other such devices are available. The company DriveHomeSafe offers a speed detection device that records data pertinent to speeding events preset by the parents ($169 retail); Driveok has a location device that uses GPS tracking and a monthly service to monitor teen movements inside preset boundaries ($194.95 + monthly subscription of at least $14.95)