Motor-Monitoring App Clock Teen Drivers’ Every Move

A new Android app allows parents to peep their teens’ driving habits even when they’re not along for the ride. The iGaurdian Teen application records a car’s speed, start and end points (via GPS), and distance traveled. It also monitors distracted driving (behind-the-wheel chatting or texting), and aggressive driving  (hard breaking, fast turns and quick acceleration). After each trip is complete, the app gathers all this info and emails it to the driver’s parents for review. And if a teen wants to bypass big brother by turning the app off? It will email her parents to let them know that the app has been deactivated.

Sound like dream app for overbearing parents and a nightmare for teens? Well, on the upshot, the app will also text a parent when a teen driver has been in an accident, allowing them to get to the scene as quickly as possible. When it comes to freaky fender benders,  nothing can be better than your parents showing up on the scene with a hug and promise that everything will be alright.

Technology can be great and all, but when it’s used to track your every move, it can feel a little too Orwellian.

What do you think of a monitoring apps like these?

Would you freak if your parents installed an app like this on your phone?


Teens Killed Car Surfing; Florida Makes The Practice An Arrestable Offense

Racks or running boards on the roof of a car are *supposed* to be for lugging surfboards, not used as a surfing platform itself. But daredevil teens (read: stupid teens) have taken to doing just that–car surfing across the nation, bringing a new level of danger associated with the term “distracted driving.”

Just last week, two Wellington, Florida teens died in a crash when a driver lost control of an SUV and flipped the car before it caught on fire. One teen was thought to be car surfing, while the other was trying to climb back into the vehicle after being on the roof.

The trend isn’t new–teens first started doing it in the ’80s after seeing Michael J. Fox car surf on top of a van. Outside of Hollywood, YouTube videos of people car surfing started popping up about four years ago. However, this recent accident, as well as recent reports like this one on msnbc have given the practice new attention.

Car surfing in Florida is now classified as an offense–anyone caught doing it will be arrested. Should a fatal accident occur, the driver can be charged with vehicular homicide and sentenced to years in jail.

I’m suspecting that teens that car surf are simply bored out of their minds and looking for something to do.

A little tip: If you’re bored or are just looking to surf,  grab a board and *drive safely* to the nearest wave pool or beach.You’ll most likely live to ride another day.

Spring Break!

Hey World! I’m taking an early summer vacation from

I’ll be posting more sporadically while I work on my next book over the next few months.

Thanks for checking in and happy driving!



Is Bad Driving Entertainment?

I know the whole reality thing is cheap for cable channels and all-enthralling for viewers. But the Travel Channel’s latest offering, America’s Worst Driver, is totally over the top.

The show, which debuts March 21, highlights speeders, distracted drivers and aggro drivers with contestants and kin giggling all the way. Whoever improves the most wins a trip to Florida.


Click here for a clip from the show.

Why is this entertainment?

Do you think this show makes bad driving seem less serious?

Let me know what you think!

Study Says Driver Cell Phone Bans Lower Accidents in Urban Areas

Last week, a study was released stating cell phone bans for drivers didn’t lower accident rates. (Get the scoop here.) Now, a new study from the University of Illinois finds that cell phone usage-bans  do lower personal injury accidents and have more of an impact on busy, urban streets than in rural areas.

The study reports that in all 62 counties studied in the state of New York, lower personal injury accident rates were reported after banning cell phone use while driving–a great improvement for safer roads, since nearly 80 percent of accidents in the US are due to distracted driving.

In the no-brainer part of the study, researchers found that:

” The personal injury accident rate decrease was more substantive in counties such as Bronx, New York and Queens, where there was a high density of licensed drivers rather than in sparsely populated areas of upstate New York.

The study’s head researcher, Sheldon H. Jacobson, a computer science professor and the director of the simulation and optimization laboratory at Illinois University, said:

“What that suggests is, if you have a congestion of cars and you’re distracted, you’re more likely to hit someone,” Jacobson said. “If you have a lower congestion of cars, you’re still distracted, but you’re less likely to hit anyone because there are less people to hit. It’s simple probability.”

No Hybrid? No Problem! Ten Ways To Eco-fy Your Ride

I created this image with the help of my publisher (thanks, Hallie!) for the Teens Turning Green Summit this past weekend in San Rafael, CA. Due to last minute printing snafus, I didn’t get the cards in time to give out to attendees, but I thought I’d share it here. (It reads kinda small, so click on the image to blow it up to a full-screen view.)


Toyota’s Prized Prius To Join Recall List?

Toyota’s history-making hybrid, the Prius, may be added to the growing list of cars recalled due to faulty brakes. Toyota’s spokespeeps have said that the company may add around 270,000 2010 Priuses (Pri-ui?) to its recall list, after owners have reported slow-to-activate brakes in their cars. Brake-hampered Priuses sold overseas in the past few weeks have already been fixed by altering the car’s computer software.

Toyota has already recalled close to 10 million cars so far this year, due to sticky break pedals that have been blamed for a handful of accidents. The company is also looking at whether there are brake issues with its hybrid Lexus.

Next Wednesday, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on “Toyota Gas Pedals: Is the Public At Risk?” The hearing will focus on the federal government’s response to the recall of millions of Toyota vehicles due to reports of faulty gas pedals.