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Teen Creates Device to Track Speeding 727

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the until-the-target-figures-out-how-to-hack-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A teen in Massachusetts has created a device that he hopes will help prevent traffic fatalities among teenagers. The unit plugs into a car and uses GPS to track and report on speeding — but only while the car exceeds a limit set by parents, so as to minimize invasion of the teen's privacy."
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Teen Creates Device to Track Speeding

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  • Untill... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdot@spad.YEATSco.uk minus poet> on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @04:47AM (#15961064) Homepage
    Parents set limit to 5mph - track kids everywhere they go.
    • Re:Untill... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by D-Cypell (446534) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @04:58AM (#15961110)
      This is exactly what I would do. Get job, buy and maintain own car, earn privacy. Besides, there is a huge difference between knowing where your car (and child) is and evesdropping on their conversations etc.

      Even at the age of 25 I am starting to think that the world we be better off if children had a few less freedoms. I probably would have felt different 10 years ago however :).
      • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot.keirstead@org> on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @06:30AM (#15961336) Homepage
        People who coddle their children have them grow into misfits, because they don't know how to act in the real world. On the other hand, people who let their kids run wild have them grow to be criminals and outcasts, because the kids grow witht he notion that it doesn't matter what they do since no one cars.

        You should raise a child with plenty of freedom, but make sure the child knows they will be held responsible for their own mistakes. I was given my own car when I was 16 - but I had to pay my own insurance. And I knew if I trashed the thing, or got tickets so my insurance would go up, etc - that Mommy and Daddy would *not* be bailing me out.

        • by D-Cypell (446534) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @06:48AM (#15961388)
          I couldn't agree more. However, I think it is very important to let the reins out slowly. The jump from getting everywhere on foot (or bicycle) to driving is a huge one in terms of responsibility and freedom. This device seems to be a good way to break up this huge jump by saying, "Yes you can now spread your wings a little, but we will be checking exactly where you are spreading them until you earn the right to take the next step. I wouldn't class this as 'coddling' but more as demonstrating that certain rights have to be earned. I have known several people who killed themselves on the road within a year of getting their driving license and many more who (in my opinion) are lucky to be alive. I was often laughed at for driving at reasonable speed and following basic road rules but if my circle were going anywhere and there were a few cars to travelling in... mine was always full :).

          Managing the jumps in freedom is one of the biggest parental responsibilities. This is clearly demonstrated by all the students who gain their first feeling of independance when they go to university and decide that the best thing to do would be to drink themselves to death.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by plague3106 (71849)
            You ignore the fact that you are instilling a sense of distrust in your kid. You don't really trust them, and thus they will not trust you. They'll also likely have problems trusting everyone, since if your own parents can't learn to trust you, how can you possibly trust anyone else?

            If by the age of 16 you still can't trust your kid, I think you have serious problems in your relationship with them.
            • by GeckoX (259575) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @07:34AM (#15961567)
              There's trust, and there's trust.

              Trust your 16 year old to be good, honest etc etc.

              Don't trust your 16 year old to make the right decision the first time they're at a friends house, have a couple drinks with the older brother, and have their shiney new car you bought them sitting outside.

              Trust must be earned, and is not a blanket that covers everything all in one go.
              • by The_REAL_DZA (731082) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @11:08AM (#15963157)
                "Trust, but verify."
            • by shaneh0 (624603) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @07:40AM (#15961594)
              I ask my son to see his report card, I don't take his word for it. If he's supposed to be home at midnight, I stay up until he gets home, I don't take his word for it. I make him keep his bedroom door open when he has his girlfriend over to "do homework."

              I trust my son. I let him borrow my car. I trust him to watch his sister. I trust him to stay at home overnight by himself on occassion.

              But if you think a 16 year old won't lie through his teeth to get out of trouble, you're insane. There is no question about this.

              Your comments suggest to me that you're either a child yourself, or you've never raised a child yourself. Nothing personal, but if you "trust" your teenager to act like a responsible adult, you're probably making a mistake. There's a reason that 18 is the age of majority, and not 15, 16, or even 17. If you quit parenting at 16 because you think you've done a good enough job so far, you're just begging for trouble.

              • by drunkennewfiemidget (712572) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @08:05AM (#15961723) Homepage
                Bull. It depends on the kid. At 16, I had all the freedoms in the world. I went where I wanted, I did what I wanted, and I acted as I pleased. I had earned it, and my parents knew I would behave myself.

                And I did.

                My son is only 5 now, but if I think I can trust him to behave himself at 16, I'll give him the freedoms that comes with it.
              • by kalirion (728907) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @08:21AM (#15961856)
                There's a reason that 18 is the age of majority, and not 15, 16, or even 17.

                Ah, the magical switch that flips when a kid turns 18, making him a responsible adult....
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by gfxguy (98788)
                  I agree that arbitrary ages are not the best way to decide when someone is an adult, when they can vote, when they can drink, when they are the age of consent...

                  However, at 18 a "child" in no longer the legal responsibility of the parents. But there is a flip that gets switched... it's the one that says "I'll go to jail, not juvi, if I do something wrong, " and the one that says "my parents are not legally responsible for me anymore."

                  The only problem is that parents have to let their kids know that. "I've
              • by Disavian (611780) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @09:08AM (#15962216) Homepage
                Preface: sorry if I'm a little harsh. This is meant in good faith, and is not intended to be a personal attack. I am attempting to describe issues I have strong beliefs on/in.

                I ask my son to see his report card, I don't take his word for it.
                A wise choice. Nothing keeps him from forging it, though.

                If he's supposed to be home at midnight, I stay up until he gets home, I don't take his word for it.
                Kinda creepy... midnight's pretty early, too. Seriously, extend the deadline until 1AM and see what happens. Nothing out of the ordinary, I bet. He's going to have to handle staying out late when he leaves home, you might as well teach him how to do it.

                I make him keep his bedroom door open when he has his girlfriend over to "do homework."
                That's just stupid. If you want to make a kid hate you, that's the way to do it. Give up on trying to keep him from having sex; he's going to have it one way or another. A parent promoting abstinance is like nailing jello to the wall. Instead, make sure he (they) has (have) ready access to contraception.

                I trust my son. I let him borrow my car. I trust him to watch his sister. I trust him to stay at home overnight by himself on occassion. But if you think a 16 year old won't lie through his teeth to get out of trouble, you're insane. There is no question about this.
                You'll trust him with someone else's life, but you won't trust him with his own? And when was the last time you saw someone telling "the truth" just because they were an "adult"? Your defense of your actions has nothing to do with the issue at hand; that is, is he mature enough to handle the responsibilities and freedoms of being an adult. Is he mature enough to use contraception, to do his homework, and to maintain his judgement in the face of peer pressure?

                Those are skills you can't teach him; you have to let him learn for himself.

                Your comments suggest to me that you're either a child yourself, or you've never raised a child yourself.
                Have you ever heard of an "ad hominem" attack? It's called a logical fallacy for a reason.

                Nothing personal, but if you "trust" your teenager to act like a responsible adult, you're probably making a mistake.
                Trusting anyone is a mistake, but we have to if we want to live like normal people.

                There's a reason that 18 is the age of majority, and not 15, 16, or even 17.
                Oh really? Tell me why. I honestly want to know why the lightswitch of maturity magically flips when a human has been on this rock for eighteen orbits around a small, yellow sun. Although it is tangental, I suppose you also support the drinking age of 21, and will say that is there for a reason. You would be correct-- it's there becuase federal government funds don't go to states that have drinking ages lower than that. Don't you remember how the drinking age was 18 in most states when you were a kid? If a state feels like standing up for VOTING CITIZENS against the US theocracy, they could. However, the kind of need the money more.

                If you quit parenting at 16 because you think you've done a good enough job so far, you're just begging for trouble.
                Yes. But the pussification of America's youth is complete; we don't let them grow up for themselves. That recent story about UGA students having coupons for booze passed out to them -- oh noes, alcohol! Grow the fark up.

                In summary -- we don't let our kids "grow up" any more. We somehow got the idea that we have to "help" them, when what they really need is to be left alone, and possibly guided. This tool is a symptom of the disease that is parenting in America. If your child can't handle being alone in a room with a girl at 16, what makes you think he'll be any different at 18? Because his prefrontal cortex will be 18% larger? He may be busy with school and activities, but real maturity doesn't come from a textbook, and you know it.
            • by toofast (20646) * on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @08:09AM (#15961754)
              I don't think it's a sense of distrust... But then again, when I got my license to drive at 17, my
              parents only very reluctantly lent me their car twice. Despite being on my best behaviour both times, they made it clear that if I wanted to drive, I would have to buy my own car.

              So I got a part time job, borrowed money from Dad and bought a decent used car, and paid back every penny of my loan. And hey, the car was mine, so I was free to do as I please. Abuse it? Break it? Too bad, I had to fix it.

              Despite that, I still managed to earn a college diploma and today, at 33, I have a wife, kids, 3 cars, a nice house that's paid for and a great job.

              I think letting your kids drive around in a vehicle that doesn't belong to them reduces their incentive to work and pay for what they want. Has nothing to do with responsibility. You want it, earn it!
        • by GeckoX (259575) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @07:31AM (#15961554)
          _giving_ a 16 year old a car is the STUPIDEST thing ANY parent could do at that point.

          For SOO many reasons.

          Driving a vehicle is a huge responsibility, one which most 16 year olds are not fully ready for, PARTICULARLY if they're just handed the keys...they have no concept of the repercussions. They have no respect for vehicles. They have no concept of the financial end of things. And by GIVING them a car, you take away the chance for them to learn these things.

          I never had my own car until I worked my ass off long enough to buy my own, and pay for my own insurance.

          I was able to borrow my parents car, on occasion, but certainly not regularly. And even then, I had to pay for my own insurance.

          I've never wrecked a car. I've never been reckless with a car. My sister, my wife, her brother...all similar circumstances growing up. ALL of us have respect for vehicles.

          Just about everyone I know though that was given their first car ended up totalling it in one way or the other.
    • Yup (Score:5, Funny)

      by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:00AM (#15961115) Journal
      That's what I was thinking. My parents were such control freaks, that I had one of them or grandma on my back pretty much the whole time. Even in about half the summer camps or such, one would actually take a vacation to come keep an eye on me. I have no doubt that if such a device had existed, they'd have set the speed limit to 1 mph just for tracking sake.
      • Re:Yup (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @06:18AM (#15961295)
        How dare you speak about me and your mother like that!
    • by palad1 (571416) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:25AM (#15961170)

      Then smart kids will drive backwards.

      (I know, I know... gps, vectors, maths, yadda yadda)
    • Re:Untill... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by discord5 (798235) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @07:09AM (#15961457)
      Parents set limit to 5mph - track kids everywhere they go.

      Child has device rigged by friend with knowledge of electronics... Parents baffled.

      Never underestimate the great lengths kids will go through to do something they're not supposed to and get away with it. In fact, adults probably'd do the same.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "Parents set limit to 5mph - track kids everywhere they go."

      +5 Insightful? Okay, can anybody actually imagine this happening in real life? Not only would the kids not even bother with the car, but that's frickin dangerous. Even an over-zealous parent would find this silly.

      Maybe I'm just misinterpreting this post, but insightful is pretty far down on my list of adjectives for this line of reasoning.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @04:52AM (#15961078)
    said teen is tracked down and given a beating for being such a snitch. Film at eleven.
  • Really, unless this thing hooks the ECU to mandate its use. Or does it work on parental faith alone?
  • Parental Control (Score:2, Insightful)

    by triorph (992939)
    Yes because we can so trust the parents to have the teenager's interests in mind when it comes to these things. Anyway aren't there like different speed limits per area? what if a parent were to set it to 50 and you were bleeping as speeding around in the country.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by brian.glanz (849625)
      Setting it to 50 is not necessarily to assume and report all driving above 50 as speeding. If an interested party set it to 50: they'd not be assuming the driver can never legally exceed 50, but that whenever the driver is exceeding 50 they are concerned enough to want speed data correlated with location and limit. BG
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yes because we can so trust the parents to have the teenager's interests in mind when it comes to these things.

      Teens are generally not responsible adults. The ones who are are capable of moving out on their own, and getting their own car.

      If the parents aren't considering the teenager's interests, then that teenager is probably already screwed beyond repair, and a GPS device isn't exactly going to make the situation worse.

    • Yes because we can so trust the parents to have the teenager's interests in mind when it comes to these things

      Yeah. 'cause my parents were sociopathic killers who stalked me whenever the opportunity.

  • He should worry too because, his mom may pin his invention under his car :)

    Or may be he knows how to find a workaround to protect his privacy...

  • not perfect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joe 155 (937621) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @04:55AM (#15961088) Journal
    couldn't you just take the thing out or un-plug it? then it'd look like you never drove over the speed limit : )

    More seriously this relies on the people who are driving (you can do it from 16, right?) being rational and sensible. If they were rational and sensible they wouldn't do it because it would make them look bad to their parents, but they wouldn't do that anyway because they wouldn't want to break the law and risk their lives. If the people weren't rational and sensible they would drive like an idiot anyway and not thing of the consequences (something I think is far more likely).

    Further I'm not even convinced that speeding is that dangerous, drink/drug driving is far more likely to result in a fatal accident - and I have met people who do just that for fun. It's idiocy but these are just the people who you'd need to deal with...
    • by arivanov (12034)
      I have to agree with you. A very small proprotion of the people who speed on a motorway or a country road around where I live are teenagers.

      Now driving without due care and attention, talking on the phone, overtaking right in front of a car in the opposite lane, pulling out without looking for traffic, jumping red lights, ignoring "no left/right turn" signs and otherwise driving while in a "brain impaled on the penis" state - that is definitely the norm (when I see teenager rates for car insurers, I cannot
    • by tehwebguy (860335)
      indeed, while i guess this could be something worth using if you know that your kid is a leadfoot, it is hardly a fix for the problem.

      the problem in florida would be solved by making the driving test actually test you. you can pass it with your eyes closed, hell -- even i can admit i should not have had my license when i got it.
    • Further I'm not even convinced that speeding is that dangerous, drink/drug driving is far more likely to result in a fatal accident

      More likely, yes. On the other hand drunk driving is rare (less than 0.2% of drivers around here) and excessive speeding even in urban areas is quite common.

      FYI, speed has been found to correlate quite clearly with accident rate in urban areas, and lowering the speed limit often, although not always, lowers the accident rate significantly. (sorry no references in english, you

  • Oh, please. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Triv (181010) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @04:56AM (#15961097) Journal

    I don't want to know how fast my (hypothetical) kid is driving 99% of the time. It's not my business, it's really not, unless he gets hurt, hurts someone else, damages MY property or gets in trouble with the police. I don't care what he does until something happens. THAT'S when I spring into dad-mode. THAT'S when I start to ask questions and yell and devise new and cunning punishments. Until then, it's up to him what he does. Hopefully I'd've raised him smarter than to put himself and his passengers into danger, and I'll assume I did until he proves me wrong.

    It's called trust. Remember that?



    Triv

    • Re:Oh, please. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chaffar (670874) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:11AM (#15961137)
      It's called trust. Remember that?
      You'd trust your kids if you actually bothered educating them about what's right and what's wrong. But most parents have outsourced that function to a third entity (School/ Friends/ Neighbours/ TV/ All of the above).
      We don't educate our kids anymore, we give them Ritalin.
    • Re:Oh, please. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chanc_Gorkon (94133) <gorkon&gmail,com> on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:47AM (#15961213)
      Yes. It is called trust. However, trust is not something anyone should automagically get....even your kid. Trust is something that's earned. In the case of my son, he won't DRIVE if he does something I don't agree with. All of this is conditional though. Everyone has an occasional slip. Speeding tickets are just that. If he gets more then one or continues to have an issue, he's done. No monitoring needed......he won't drive until we say so. Why? Because I AM THE PARENT. So long as he lives in my house, it's my rules in and out of the house. After he leaves, he can get his privacy but not until then.
    • Re:Oh, please. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kamiza Ikioi (893310) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:53AM (#15961231) Homepage
      As for me, it certainly is my business. They are a "kid", a child, not an adult. Parents have the right to know where, when, who, etc. A parent has the right to tell their child, for instance, that they can't leave the state or city. A parent has the right to tell their child they can't go to a party where liquor is being served or drugs are being used. A parent has the right to tell their child that they cannot speed.

      I'm not saying I'd track the kid, but I will tell them to drive the speed limit, and whether they get in trouble or not, I expect them to follow my rules. Otherwise, you're telling your kid, "Hey, as long as you don't get caught, I don't care if you [insert illegal activity here]." Children need sensable boundaries along with the freedom to be themselves.

      Forget kids, if I lone my car out to anyone, I have the right to know where they are going, who will be going with them, and that they are obeying all traffic laws while using MY car.

      I'm all for privacy, but call me old fashioned. Children living in MY house live under MY rules. As my father told me and his father before him... you are free to do whatever you please after you move out. This may offend some younger /.r's, but a 16 year old who just got their license is certainly NOT a mature adult capable of making their own rules up. With age and maturity comes more freedom. But for a young new driver, I can't see an almost no rules environment where the one rule is "I'm not getting bailed out of jail".

      Would I actually put a GPS bug in my child's car? No. I would rather buy a pre-paid cellphone and hide it somewhere in the interior of the car with a power adapter spliced to the wiring, and let my child know about it. This for safety, not privacy invasion. Car gets stolen or child comes up missing, one phone call by the police to the cell phone company will locate the car.

      Also, let's not confuse child privacy with adult privacy. I find no moral or legal grounding for a child's right to privacy from their own parents. Those who say otherwise are either trying to be the "cool" parent or are not a parent. "I don't care what he does until something happens. THAT'S when I spring into dad-mode." I'm not telling you how to raise your children, because that is certainly not my business. But, since it is your "(hypothetical)" kid, I can already guess you want to be the "cool" parent. Just realize it's a little late to spring into dad-mode when they hit a telephone poll at 100mph killing their girlfriend and paralyzing themselves, because his "best bud" wants to look the other way until something bad happens. There is no "dad-mode". You are either a dad, or you are not.

      That's equivalent to not telling your child to not play with the stove until they get 3rd degree burns on their hands. I'd be interested to hear your comments when you actually have a 16 year old with a license.

      It's called parenting. And you haven't learned that yet.
      • I'm not telling you how to raise your children, because that is certainly not my business.

        Arguably, it is to some extent, if those children are going to participate/vote/etc in your society.

        Otherwise, I agree completely.

      • Re:Oh, please. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by lgftsa (617184) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @06:21AM (#15961308)
        Just realize it's a little late to spring into dad-mode when they hit a telephone poll at 100mph killing their girlfriend and paralyzing themselves

        Killing themselves is simply evolution in action. The girlfriend is complicit in her own fate, unless she was held in the car against her will. It's the oncoming vehicles/pedestrians/etc who are innocent bystanders who you should feel sorry for.

        I can't understand the hand wringing over the hoons who kill themselves, and I include the passengers in that category. If the driver is unsafe, don't be in the car.

        Perhaps I have a overdeveloped sense of self-presevation, but I don't allow someone to endanger me even if they are one of the "cool crowd" or a "friend".
      • Re:Oh, please. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jacquems (610184) <onl4ibe001@sneakemail.com> on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @07:58AM (#15961695)

        It's called parenting.

        I think the ultimate goal of parenting is to help your children learn how to make good decisions. The only way to do that is to let them make some and experience the logical consequences of their actions. For example, if your kid leaves his bike outside in the rain and it rusts, he gets a much clearer message about why it's important to put the bike away than if you simply tell him to put it away "because I said so". I do draw the line at safety issues, but even then I don't have iron-clad rules enforced by punishment. I let my daughter know what is the safe thing to do and why (i.e. "Your head can get hurt if you fall off the bike. Always wear a bike helmet.") and help her do it until she's ready to do it on her own.

        Children also need to feel worthwhile and valued in the family. When children feel that they are worthwhile human beings, they are more likely to act with their safety in mind, and to want to please their parents. More than anything, I think the feeling that my parents cared about my well-being was what made me want to be a safe driver as a teenager. I knew that people often got hurt or killed while driving, and I did my best to make sure it wouldn't happen to me (at least not through my own fault).

        Parents need to guide and advise their children - by sharing their values and stating their expectations - but in the end children need to learn to think for themselves. Hopefully by the time a child is old enough to drive, he/she will have had enough practice making good decisions about other things to also make smart choices when driving. If not, all the high-tech parental spying gadgets in the world aren't going to help.

    • by tomjen (839882)
      I could not agree with you more - If your cannot trust your child to drive carefully, you have failed as a parent and you have bigger issues than this. All the electric gismoes in the world would not help you if you cannot trust you child, because if you cannot trust him/her how should the rest of society be able too?

      At a certain point you just have to say - okay i have no reason to assume my kid is not responsible enough to have X, so that is not a reason why he should not have it. As you raise your kid, X
    • by Twylite (234238)

      Yeah, because the moment I do know my (hypothetical) kid is breaking the law, it becomes my legal obligation to (a) report the crime, and (b) take action to prevent my property from being used in the commission of future crimes of this sort. So unless I ground the kid or take appropriate action to "reeducate" him/her/it not to repeat the crime, I share in the criminal liability.

      So no, this isn't good for anyone.

    • by jamesh (87723)
      I'd trust my kids to do the right thing, but i'd not necessarily trust them to always have a balanced idea of what the right thing is.

      The funny thing about kids is that they tend to be very impulsive (some more so than others) and very easily swayed by peer pressure. At 5am, after partying for 8 hours and consuming even a small amount of alcohol, the 'right thing' can be pretty hard to define for an 18 year old.

      Also remember, a 6am knock on the door by a police officer is not the way you want to find out th
    • It's obvious that said kids are hypothetical, because it most certainly IS a parents job to know where their kids are, who they are with, and what they are doing. It's part of this thing called 'responsible parenting', which is sadly an increasingly rare commodity.
    • Re:Oh, please. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by trcooper (18794) * <<coop> <at> <redout.org>> on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @08:55AM (#15962114) Homepage
      I don't have a hypothetical kid. I have a real kid. And as a parent I know it's my responsibility to be aware of when my son is doing stupid which could harm him. It's not a lack of trust, it's a realization that kids do things that are dumb regardless of how responsible they or their parents think they are. I know that when I was a teen I did things I should not have, and would have been better off avoiding. I also remember thinking that I was much more responsible and mature than my peers. I now know that I didn't have a clue, and that my parents were right the vast majority of the time.

      What teens don't realize is their situation is hardly unique. One of the things you start to realize as you mature is that you and your parents aren't so different. My parents grew up in the 40's & 50's, I grew up in the 80's and 90's. Even with that type of difference in age I realize now the same issues I faced, they had bee through 3 or 4 decades earlier. Parents do have good advice and insight to give their children, if they'll actually listen. Problem is, kids in every generation think they're the only ones with these particular issues or problems, and they're flat out wrong.

      Teens want freedom. That's natural. But with freedoms come responsibility that most kids just aren't able to see the entire scope of. That's where parents come in and take some of that responsibility upon themselves to curb their childrens freedoms when neccessary. A parent should never at any point say, well, you're X age, I've done what I can, good luck. I still take advice from my old man. And appreciate it more now.

      Of course teen /.rs reading this will disagree... I probably would have, had /. been available via gopher.
  • The device don't know the speed limit of the road he's on. He can go 70 mph on a 20 mph road. The device won't know.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rolfwind (528248)
      Plus the speed limit is painfully slow in some areas. Everybody goes 65-75 on my local "55"mph highway. How will the teen react if the device is set to 55mph, will s/he follow it out of obligation and get themselves killed*

      I'd much rather have a built in car device that detects the blood-alcohol level of the driver (any driver, not just teens) and not start the car. Once the car is started, I think any dumb device like this is dangerous for all involved. I mean, by the time your kids start driving, they
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you slapped it on a dog and your nosey parents see you as driving through all the neighbors lawns, maybe a school yard or two.

    My only regret would not being able to see their faces as this happened
  • by OscarBlock (861399) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @04:59AM (#15961111)
    Maybe this should be fitted to the cars of adults - the results could be sent to their local schools to show that they are setting a good example.
    • Not a bad idea. Fortunately for my wife who JUST GOT A TICKET, my son was in the car....now he reminds her about it! :D My wife was horrible with this, but then everyone who drives on this street is. It's a busy throughfare with a 25 MPH limit, but I have routinely seen people going 45+ on this street.

  • Privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alzoron (210577) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @04:59AM (#15961113) Journal
    I'm assuming they're driving this car in public. Unless they're driving through their room with the door shut how could this be a violation of privacy?

    The car is legally the parents responsibility. The teen is legally the parents responsibility. Kids expect so much privacy these days.
    • by Pofy (471469)
      >The car is legally the parents responsibility.

      In what way? For most things, the driver is responsible for his actions for example.

      >The teen is legally the parents responsibility.

      Ehh, if we disregard the fact that most countries (although not all) has the same age limit for driver license as for becoming adult (in a legal sense), there is still the case that in most countries parents are not legally responsible for all their children do.

      >Kids expect so much privacy these days.

      Parents trust their ki
  • How? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by onion2k (203094) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:09AM (#15961134) Homepage
    The device, which plugs into the electrical outlet in a car and sits on the dashboard, will monitor a car's speed only when the driver exceeds a specified limit.

    Is it a magical device? Because I don't see how it can only monitor the speed of the car only when the car is speeding. It'd need to monitor the speed of the car all the time to know when it starts speeding. I can see that it might only log the GPS location of the car when the speed exceeds a certain amount .. but that's not what the article says.
  • spanfastic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sporkme (983186) * on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:13AM (#15961141) Homepage
    I think this is wonderful. The news is not about tracking teens, nor is it about snooping governments. This is a success story for an young engineer. This kid has seen his invention from conception, through development and prototype, all the way to investment. He has polled his resources and called upon special talents: (from TFA) "Jon's sister, Julie, 21, helped coin the device's name, and Jon's uncle, Kurt Lanza, helped with the computer programming." He has a specific goal in mind. "His program weeds out extra information from the GPS, protecting teens' privacy. Their parents can see what they're doing only if they break the rules set by the parents." IMHO Jonathan Fischer may be a Benedict Arnold to some "Speed Demon" kids, but to proponents of safe driving and to parents who have buried their children, he is a Benjamin Franklin.

    Keep going, Jon. Call me if you need a good email checker-er-er.
  • Years ago we had these digital speedometers that used a magnet on the wheel to detect speed. No need for GPS nonsense.
  • This is appalling (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Toby The Economist (811138) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:20AM (#15961159)
    We learn what we *do*.

    What's a teenager doing when he's being monitored by his parents?

    What he's doing is not being trusted. So he's learning that his parents do not trust him, and he's learning that they will forcefully impose themselves into his life to coerce his behaviour; he's learning to resent them and he's learning that speeding is only wrong because it is prohibited by parents.

    • What he's doing is not being trusted. So he's learning that his parents do not trust him

      Since when does parenting involve trusting teens without limit?

      and he's learning that they will forcefully impose themselves into his life to coerce his behaviour

      Damn right.

  • I wonder... (Score:2, Informative)

    by no.17 (997011)
    So the device plugs into the electrical outlet...surely any teen that's going to go off speeding would simply reverse slowly out of the driveway of their parents house, wave goodbye, drive cautiously round the corner- unplug the thing and dump it in a hedge- speed like mad for the next five hours then pick it up on the way back...

    Or am I just too much of a miscreant?
  • Dude... (Score:4, Funny)

    by theonetruekeebler (60888) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:23AM (#15961165) Homepage Journal
    He is so getting his ass kicked in school tomorrow.

    That said, this is probably the best incentive a teen ever had to get a job, save money, and buy his own damn car.

  • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:24AM (#15961167) Homepage
    Should be titled "Teen creates device to prevent himself from ever being invited to parties".
    • by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @06:38AM (#15961363) Homepage
      Should be titled "Teen creates device to prevent himself from ever being invited to parties".

      Where do you think this teen got the free time to create this device? Perhaps it was from already not being invited to parties?

      Step 1. Jocks refuse to invite geek to parties
      Step 2. Geek sells GPS device to jocks' parents.
      Step 3. Fun and Profit!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by cptgrudge (177113)

        So the moral of this story is that jocks should be keeping the geeks laid and happy.

        I for one welcome our new benevolent, cheerleader bestowing, jock overlords.

  • by symbolic (11752) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:37AM (#15961193)
    Much of teen driving problems come from two sources: overconfidence, and distractions. Some states have laws that permit only a certain number of people in the car at certain stages of the licencing process- and they do that for a reason. Teens are notorious for packing friends into a car to go out and 'have a good time', but the passengers become a major source of distraction. Despite what young drivers may think of their abilities, they need to concentrate on driving, and worry about having 'fun' after they exit the vehicle.
  • Not always speed (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trailwalker (648636) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:50AM (#15961223)
    I work for a large cemetery. Every year, we have two periods when teens are killed in automobile accidents. The few weeks after school starts and the few weeks after school is out.

    These accidents seldom involve speeding. They usually happen in the teens own neighborhood. Losing control of the vehicle and hiting something solid or rolling over cause the fatalities.

    Better driver education, more emphasis on seatbelt use, etc. would save more lives than any speed recorder.
  • Several ways to tamper with the device has already been mentioned. But how about just removing the SD card and removing the violations?

    Since it doesn't seem to track the actual speed limit (that would be quite a bit more complex) it seems like it would need a pretty high preset limit. (Or a limit for in city driving.)

    It's a pretty neat project though. And making your own hardware box like that is not a small feat for anyone.
  • by Heem (448667)
    That kid is SO gonna get beat up at school.
  • Everyone knows speeding is the only possible cause of traffic accidents. (/sarcasm)

    This sort of thinking bugs me no end. Accident statistics clearly show that speed is a contributing factor in a minority (maybe 20%) of accidents and the sole cause of an even smaller percentage. Driving while distracted causes many more accidents.
    Yet, where I live, >95% of traffic citations are for speeding. For the last few years, we've had more speeding tickets per year than we have licensed drivers, meaning that on ave
  • If I was a teenager I would only agree to use the device if my parents agreed to put one in their vehicles as well; put everyone in "the circle of trust". I doubt that would go down well with the parents.

    This device also undermines the development of a teenagers ethical sense in that they are no longer responsible to themselves in making driving decisions now that the machine is making that decision for them. At some point in a person's life the parents have to let go and leave their child to learn to be re
  • by markus_baertschi (259069) <markus@mar[ ].org ['kus' in gap]> on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @08:02AM (#15961713)

    I'd like a device like this for myself. It would need to know the speed-limit of all roads and warn me when I'm over the limit. There could even be a speed-limiter (easily to disable, if necessary).

    Not that I'm speeding a lot, but once in a while I find myself too fast because I'm not aware of the limit.

    Markus

  • by cjmnews (672731) <cjmnews@yahoo.com> on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @08:42AM (#15962001) Homepage
    A parent demonstrated the same device 3 years ago on TV. Showed that he caught his son doing 42 in a 35 zone.
    Seems like the older device was better as it somehow showed the speed limit of the road with the speed of the car.

    I don't see how this MA kid recently "invented" this device.
  • by dlleigh (313922) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @12:25PM (#15963868)
    Try google: http://www.google.com/search?q=gps+speed+monitor [google.com]

    Rental car companies have gotten into trouble for trying to fine drivers who exceed some limit.

    The first teen driver monitor I saw was from Autotap and was code-named "narc on Lisa" because the inventor wanted to make sure his daughter Lisa wasn't doing anything bad. This one plugged into the car's OBDII port, monitored various vehicle parameters such as speed, ignition state and the current time, could sense if it had been disconnected and record that fact.

    The "invention" in the original article is neither original nor noteworthy.

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