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Teenage drivers restricted by GPS curfew

By: Lisa Keegan

Date: Saturday, 01. May 2010

For more than 20 years now, has published an online and hard copy booklet - 'Learning to Drive: A Guide for Parents'. Amongst other things, this guide addresses the issue of heightened risks that teenagers face when driving after daylight hours 'some of the worst accidents occur at night and with a group of young people in the car. If alcohol or any other kind of impairment is involved the risk in this situation is magnified several times' ('Learning to Drive: A Guide for Parents')

These crash statistics are fairly consistent from year to year and vary little across geographical regions. In California for example, the crash rate for teenage drivers is three times higher after 9pm than it is during the day.

teenage driver gps tracking

This can be attributed to reduced visibility and higher levels of fatigue as well as a greater likelihood of drink or drug involvement during the night-time hours.

Teenagers, especially males, can expect to pay far higher than average for insurance premiums. They pay above the odds because, once they start driving, they are statistically high-risk. Of course, not all teenagers will drive recklessly or under the influence of alcohol, but all teenage drivers are inexperienced and this is a major factor in road accidents.

However, the high insurance premiums can put car insurance out of the reach of many teenagers and this is where companies such as i-kube come in. i-kube have piloted a scheme whereby GPS and mobile phone technology are employed, via a small in-car device, to determine the location of a particular car at a particular time. The insurance policy restricts any movement of the car between the hours of 11pm and 5am, and any such movement would trigger an alert to the Insurance company, resulting in financial penalties for the policy holder.

Bethany Hendy, a student and i-kube policy holder, explains how the GPS tracking system, although somewhat restrictive, provides her with an affordable insurance option, ultimately bringing car insurance and therefore the ability to get out on the road, within her reach. [i-kube website]

Agreeing to the 11pm curfew and signing up to the policy can save some teenage drivers up to 40% on their insurance premium, this can often mean, as in Bethany Hendy's case, the difference between driving during restricted hours and not driving at all. i-kube, having found the pilot to be a success, have now rolled the policy out across the UK and hope to gain a number of new customers in doing so. It is unclear whether this system could be adapted for use in a shared car but given the nature of the technology, presumably not.

GPS tracking to monitor driving activities is not a new concept in the insurance market, but the modeling of a policy specifically around the installation of such devices is what sets i-kube apart. Other companies, such as SekurTrack in the US, have marketed their GPS tracking devices at parents who want to monitor their teens' driving activities and also save on insurance costs, as the system qualifies for risk factor deduction by insurance underwriters.

There are other ways around paying extortionate insurance premiums but they all involve some level of restriction imposed on the driver. The Graduated Drivers License is one such method which has been discussed in various different articles on There are various versions of a Graduated License but it is essentially a phasing-in of the full License through imposed restrictions, such as accompanied driving and night-time driving restrictions. Versions of graduated licensing are in effect in most US states. In New York for example, according to the DMV website 'If you have a junior driver license or you are learning to drive with a learner permit, then you are allowed limited driving privileges.' The website then goes on to detail the nature of the restrictions imposed such as '...where in New York State you can drive, the time of day you can drive, and in what other situations you are allowed to drive.' [DMV New York]

Graduated Drivers Licenses can prove to be very effective and have a far less authoritarian feel to them than the GPS tracking does.

There are obvious civil liberties issues associated with GPS tracking of drivers. A article a few years ago also highlighted the issue of how the collected data could be used against a driver 'James Turner rented a car from ACME rental company and was shocked to find additional charges of $450 for speeding on his credit card statement. The company had used its Global Positioning System to track his speeding violations. Turner brought a claim against the company in small claims court.'

The amount of data that can be collected by a simple tracking system in a car is phenomenal and quite worrying. In the case of young drivers in need of car insurance the pros of such methods quite possibly outweigh the cons but it is very likely to take a long time for the average motorist to warm to the idea of having their every move (in the car at least) monitored and logged.

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All Comments (6)

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jaswant singh,

i have a job.driving job in any country.not in india.




Thanks for sharing.


yes young drivers should know how to to defensive driving in order to avoid accidents and insurance reduction as well



Allen Davis, - check it out and you might save yourself money on your car insurance - especially with the easy quote finder widget

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