Car crashes are the number one killer of teens, taking 3,000 young lives every year. Experts say parental involvement is the easiest way to prevent this, and now there are devices to help. One such device called the Tracking Key promises to tell you exactly where your kids are going and how fast they're driving.
According to the CDC, speeding and inexperience are the two of the leading causes of teen crashes. Since parents can't ride with their teens everywhere they go, there's no telling what they're doing when you're not there. But the Tracking Key says it can be there and can give parents a wealth of information. FOX25 put it to the test.
Crash risk is the highest at age 16. The thrill of independence and the power of a two ton vehicle can be too much for inexperienced drivers. Choctaw resident Rachel Sykes' daughter Kali has had that independence for about a year now, but of course mom still worries.
"I have to tell her to slow down. So yes, she's a speeder," said Sykes.
"I pay attention but I have a heavy foot," said Kali.
It's not only that heavy foot Sykes is worried about. It's also that drive time between school, work and basketball practice where Kali may be taking risks. Truth be told, Kali is very honest with her mom about her driving, but when we offered up the GPS tracking device, Sykes jumped at the chance to find out her daughter's habits.
"A whole lot about her speed and her weekend travels. Where she's going on the weekends," said Sykes.
With Kali's permission, FOX25 left the tracking device in Kali's car for six days. The Tracking Key says it will track every stop, every turn, every speed and every surprise. It uses 24 Department of Defense satellites to record every second the car is moving. The device says all you need to do is plug it into a computer, after data is recorded, and it should tell you everything. After the six days were up, FOX25 went back to see if it worked.
"It tracks her every move, every stop that she makes and her speed the entire time," Sykes said as she watched those six days come to life on her computer screen.
The program is able to show Kali's car move on an actual map. A blue line shows where she's been and the red line shows where Kali pressed the break or stopped. You can choose to see information for every day individually or you can play out, in rapid time, everywhere the car went.
Turns out, Kali made more unplanned stops than what her mom realized, and speed did prove to be a problem on the highway. All information Sykes can now use to encourage her daughter to make better choices.
"I really enjoyed the product actually. It showed every street that she drove on, her speed the entire time and the time that she was driving," she said.
Sykes says she could see this being a great product to hold teens accountable. If parents are able to nix bad habits from the beginning, teens might not be tempted to break the rules and put themselves in danger.
"If this is my car I cannot get away with anything, ever," said Kali.
The Tracking Key costs about $150 and all it takes are two AAA batteries and it starts working immediately. The company that makes the device says this is not only a good product for parents, but a great product for employers to put in company vehicles.