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Teen Creates Device to Track Speeding

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the until-the-target-figures-out-how-to-hack-it dept.

727

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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727 comments

Untill... (5, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961064)

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

Re:Untill... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15961095)

Parents keeping track of their kids, you say?! THIS IS TRUE LUNACY!

Re:Untill... (5, Interesting)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 7 years ago | (#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 :).

You learn through mistakes (5, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961336)

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.

Yup (4, Funny)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961115)

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 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15961295)

How dare you speak about me and your mother like that!

Re:Untill... (5, Funny)

palad1 (571416) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961170)

Then smart kids will drive backwards.

(I know, I know... gps, vectors, maths, yadda yadda)

Re:Untill... (4, Funny)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961314)

I can just see hundreds of parents congratulating themselves on doing such an excellent job because their son/daughter drives at -120MPH.

Noble cause, completely terrible idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15961066)

nt

Offtopic: Lunenburg (-1, Offtopic)

corychristison (951993) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961074)

This is completely off topic, but I feel it is worth mentioning that the teen is from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada.

I was in Lunenburg a few months ago. It is an absolutely gorgeous city[/town?] :-)

Re:Offtopic: Lunenburg (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961276)

This is completely off topic, but I feel it is worth mentioning that the teen is from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Really? because the summery says: "A teen in Massachusetts... "

As someone who was born and raised in Massachusetts I think it would be a disgrace to the great country of Canada mixing them up like that.

Re:Offtopic: Lunenburg (1, Funny)

Sushhh (991088) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961282)

You're right, that's absolutely completely off topic.

Re:Offtopic: Lunenburg (1)

ewisnor (870167) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961294)

Seeing how this particular news site is local to Massachusettes I can't say I agree with you. Also, the article doesn't state anything about Nova Scotia, but talks about him going to Washington D.C. to collect money from some sort of contest that he won and mentions the "University of Massachusetts Traffic Safety Research Program".

Besides... young programmers in a backwater Nova Scotia fishing village? Eh? Isn't that town still on dial-up?

In more recent news... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15961078)

said teen is tracked down and given a beating for being such a snitch. Film at eleven.

So? Unplug it. (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961079)

Really, unless this thing hooks the ECU to mandate its use. Or does it work on parental faith alone?

Re:So? Unplug it. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15961166)

First, it's a GPS device. It doesn't need to be connected to the car to measure how fast it's going. Second, it could record when it's connected/disconnected from the car (to avoid that the teen leaves it at a friend's house while going on a speeding tour.) Alternatively it could simply be bolted on an run on battery. GPS trackers aren't exactly battery hogs.

Re:So? Unplug it. (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961198)

Alternatively it could simply be bolted on an run on battery. GPS trackers aren't exactly battery hogs.
But then all it takes is to remove the battery. Or wrap it in tin foil or something.

Parent: Where the hell did you go, the GPS website couldn't find you ?

Teen: mumblemumble there were lots of tunnels...

Parental Control (2, Insightful)

triorph (992939) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961082)

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:Parental Control (2, Insightful)

brian.glanz (849625) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961184)

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:Parental Control (2, Insightful)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961271)

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.

ever tried getting speed information from a GPS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15961083)

If you've ever tried to get speed information of out a GPS when its got a weak signal or looses signal tempoarily you'll know it can often calculate excessively high speeds. So whats the chance of the GPS spitting out an incorrect speed ocassionally saying your doing say 100mph and telling your parents this.

Re:ever tried getting speed information from a GPS (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961090)

I more thought it would work like the code that detects speed hacks in MMORPGs. You got from point A to point B in X amount of time. The minimum possible speed without teleporting is Y. X Y, therefore you teleported or otherwise speed hacked the client.

Re:ever tried getting speed information from a GPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15961203)

My guess is that the device reads the vehicle speed directly from the on-board diagnostic (OBD) computer. It's already calculating speed and other things in order to keep the engine running properly, so there's no point in using potentially-unreliable GPS data to calculate speed when you can simply plug in to the OBD port and have accurate data provided for you.

Corrections (1)

infernow (529374) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961248)

One, I accidentally posted anonymously before. I suppose that's what I get for posting while tired.

Two, after reading TFA a second time, I see that I was wrong about it plugging in to the OBD port. Looks like it just plugs into a 12V outlet for power. I guess not having to deal with lots of different connector cables was more important than having increased data accuracy.

kid be cautious !!! (2, Funny)

b1ufox (987621) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961086)

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 (4, Insightful)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961088)

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...

Re:not perfect (0)

ettlz (639203) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961108)

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...

Quite. Crap driving is the biggest cause of accidents, and speeding is just one part of that. (According to the UK's TRL, some figure in excess of 90% of accidents are due to human error.)

Re:not perfect (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961149)

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 blame the insurers, the rates nowdays are mostly based on stats and the stats are selfexplanatory).

Re:not perfect (1)

CodeDragon (987401) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961304)

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...

Speeding does make accidents more likely, or at least less easy to avoid. Increasing your speed increases your stopping distance and also decreases the amount of time you have in which to react to a given set of circumstances.

Moreover, the results of a higher-speed accident are usually more severe. Just look at the difference in injuries between a child hit at 30mph (usually survivable if we're to believe the literature) and one hit at, say 60mph (usually fatal, IIRC).

Re:not perfect (1)

electronerdz (838825) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961307)

Most teenagers these days wouldn't know a alternator from a radiator. And with the large amount of electrical sensors under most hoods of new cars, you never know what you are unplugging.

Re:not perfect (1)

tehwebguy (860335) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961318)

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.

Off button? (1)

Ghost Hedgehog (814914) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961091)

And what will prevent the teenager to turn it off? Unless you wire it into car electronic system, it will not have much use if you can simply turn it off. Or do parents get the location where the device is shut down?

Re:Off button? (1)

dohzer (867770) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961118)

Wouldn't it just have a logger to record if it has been shutdown/modified? Parents see their child has tampered with the device and decide not to let them out in the car again.

Re:Off button? (1)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961135)

Couldn't be bothered reading TFA.

Solution :

1. Drive into covered car park at mall.

2. Fit alfoil to GPS antenna.

3. Proceed to drive as fast as you want, wherever you like.

4. Drive back to mall.

5. Remove alfoil from antenna.

6. Drive home.

7. Tell parents you spent a few hours lounging listlessly at the mall, suffering in your teenage angst.

If it logs ignition on time, it would be trickier. But not that much trickier for the average teen.

Re:Off button? (1)

kyrre (197103) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961177)

Controlling parents could then go into the garage and compare millage on the GPS and the car. Teen lose car and is grounded for 3 years or so.

Re:Off button? (2, Informative)

Erwos (553607) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961190)

First off, this is a trust _verification_ mechanism. If you've got such issues with your kid that you think they're going to start pulling stuff like you just described, the obvious answer is to just not hand them the car.

Making the assumption that all you can do is disable the GPS antenna, and not actually tamper with the logs or the device physically, don't you think the parent might notice something when the device points out that they didn't have a GPS lock (or even PRN sighting) at any time during their little trip? In other words, your scenario wouldn't work against an even-somewhat well designed device.

It surprises me how Slashdotters give teenagers the brilliance and skills of MacGyver, where no security measure could possibly work against them. Of course, it also makes me think there's a decent percentage of them who hated their parents, and considered themselves much, much smarter than them, which could be correlated with their apparent revulsion to just telling a kid "no, you can't".

It's sad and pathetic, honestly. My parents and I had an excellent relationship - I knew what they would say no to, so I didn't ask to do that stuff, and more importantly, I didn't actually do it, either. They trusted me because of that, so the sphere of "no" was relatively inconsquential anyways. It's a lesson many of my peers never really figured out.

-Erwos

Re:Off button? (1)

tomjen (839882) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961239)

The reason we give teens good skills is the same reason RIAA cannot make a decent DRM system - It takes one person to break it and then everyone can show it to their friends.

Second of all - slashdotters are geeks and we hate things that prevent us from doing what we want.

I happend to like finding ways to prevent things like this from working. Hmm maybe I could be popular if I publish a simple guide to disabeling systems like this.

In Denmark some politicians have installed an anti childporn filter. So the first thing that was discussed (on any techni board worth its salt) was how to get around it - not because we want to look at nude children but because there is something about beating The Man.

Re:Off button? (1)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961269)

Making the assumption that all you can do is disable the GPS antenna, and not actually tamper with the logs or the device physically, don't you think the parent might notice something when the device points out that they didn't have a GPS lock (or even PRN sighting) at any time during their little trip? In other words, your scenario wouldn't work against an even-somewhat well designed device.

If you seriously think a GPS system is able to sight through a solid carpark covering, then think again. A simple ploy like that - going to a location that loses lock and claiming that you were parked there all the time is quite plausible. Disabling the speed sensor on a recent vehicle takes 20 seconds of fumbling under the car (or a few hours of installing a speedo signal line kill switch) and allows the odo readings to match up nicely.

I won't comment on MacGyver-like abilities of kids these days, but quite a few of my rev-head friends would have been quite capable of doing it when we were that age. And rev-heads are the ones most likely to be wanting to tool around the place un-monitored, and most likely to be ones targeted by parents wanting to keep track of their hijinks.

But yes, technical merits aside, the whole trust thing is the issue. If you really can't trust your kids enough to be in charge of a potentially lethal object.... don't lend them the car and hopefully, they'll be older and wiser by the time they can afford their own. Hopefully.

Re:Off button? (1)

Scutter (18425) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961195)

But not that much trickier for the average teen.

Eaten fast food lately? The average teen can't make change without using the cash register computer. I think you overestimate the average teen's abilities.

Re:Off button? (1)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961341)

As if calculation abilities were required for thinking.

Oh, please. (4, Insightful)

Triv (181010) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961097)

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. (5, Insightful)

Chaffar (670874) | more than 7 years ago | (#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. (5, Interesting)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961175)

I'd kill for a mod point right now. And by kill, I mean some sort of responsible alternative, since my morals thankfully weren't outsourced.

Re:Oh, please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15961186)

You're an irresponsible idiot. The alternative to finding ways to know about rule violations without invading the teen's privacy is to look over his shoulder personally. Teens do stupid things, especially in cars. There's no exception. It's important to give feedback before the teen hurts himself or others.

Re:Oh, please. (4, Insightful)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 7 years ago | (#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. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15961344)

But (multiple) speeding tickets (if 10mph over limit) are just bad luck almost anybody can get. I mean, I could get 1 every day of the year (never have yet) and is usually just a spin of the wheel who the cop aims the speed gun at.... 90% of the people on the road don't go the speed limit.

Re:Oh, please. (5, Insightful)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961231)

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.

Re:Oh, please. (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961297)

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. (3, Insightful)

lgftsa (617184) | more than 7 years ago | (#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. (1)

tomjen (839882) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961250)

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 grows bigger and bigger - someday it will be his/her own life (and that is one of the few things you cannot prevent).

Anyway my hat is off for you.

Re:Oh, please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15961301)

I don't want to know how fast my (hypothetical) kid is driving 99% of the time.

I have an easier solution.

I don't allow my hypothetical kid to drive at all... Keeps hyptothetical insurance premiums down, at leat hypothetically.

Re:Oh, please. (1)

Twylite (234238) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961339)

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.

Re:Oh, please. (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961343)

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 that you couldn't trust your kid so much afterall.

Fuc4! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15961098)

be f0n. it used [goat.cx]

Once it is proved successful (1)

knightmad (931578) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961100)

How long until it is mandatory for all new drivers under a certain age limit (let's say, 18)?

Speed limit of the Road (2, Insightful)

SurfSlade (967547) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961103)

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:Speed limit of the Road (1)

Hittite Creosote (535397) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961144)

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.
But if the parents have set a speed limit of 55mph, then it uses GPS to record both the speed and the position. The parents then look up the position on Google Maps, say "hey, I know that road, that's a little suburban street, not a freeway" and take the keys.

Re:Speed limit of the Road (1)

chengmi (725888) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961290)

Ok, so the kid goes 50mph in a 20mph zone... The point is that recording a high absolute speed is only useful in certain situations (freeway driving?). For other situations, like mountain roads or school zones, 40mph or even 30mph could be unsafe as well.

Re:Speed limit of the Road (2, Informative)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961283)

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 will be going out of the house to college in 2 years, where you have no control. Give them some measure of freedom or don't let them drive at all.

*Statistically, it's safer to go 10mph faster than the speed limit than at the speed limit or 10mph below it. Speed alone doesn't kill, not going along with the normal traffic patterns does, go with the flow. Some experienced drivers still are unaware of this, to the detriment of all around them.

Wouldnt This be Great... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15961106)

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

Why only for teens? (5, Insightful)

OscarBlock (861399) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Why only for teens? (1)

dohzer (867770) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961123)

I guess that would work if they cared about what children thought. But if they did, the probably wouldn't be speeding anyway.

Re:Why only for teens? (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961219)

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? (5, Insightful)

alzoron (210577) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961113)

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.

Re:Privacy? (1, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961227)

The car is legally the parents responsibility.

My first car, bought when I was 16, was paid for with my own money, earned at my own full time job. Same for the insurance. My license was at my parent's behest, but not my car.

The teen is legally the parents responsibility.

This is likely true, but not necessarily. And a seperate issue. In any case the teen almost certainly has the right to come and go as s/he pleases at 16, whether the parent realizes this or not.

Teach your parents well.

KFG

Re:Privacy? (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961346)

In any case the teen almost certainly has the right to come and go as s/he pleases at 16, whether the parent realizes this or not.

I would replace "come and go" with "go".

At the same age that the child can legally "come and go as s/he pleases", that child can be kicked out of the house. If the 16-year-old "adult" (hah!) wants to live in the parents' house, s/he can live by the parents' rules.

Re:Privacy? (1)

Pofy (471469) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961292)

>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 kids so little these days. I wonder if it can have anything to do with how one raises ones children...

So you also believe in the easter bunny, right? (1)

Edman (931166) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961116)

It's a nice try from the kid, but
a) who wants to speed, will find a way
b) too anxious parents will ruin this nice idea by abusing it as a standard tracker (boy am I happy my parents never knew how and where I used to party)
c) and if the parents will not, the authorities will abuse this fine device

Great idea to invent a tracking system in a world full of observation. Is this guy somehow related to big brother (not the show, read "1984" to know what I'm talking about)?

Re:So you also believe in the easter bunny, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15961305)

If he were related to BB that would be doubleplusungood.

So how is his different from all the other... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15961117)

...black boxes various authorities and corporations are hawking? Or is this a marketing ploy: "Hey kids, this was invented by a teenager, so it must be cool, right? Order now, and be the first in your gang to have the greatest thing since that iPod doohickey!"

How? (2, Insightful)

onion2k (203094) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961134)

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.

Re:How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15961273)

you're a pedantic fucking cunt and represent everything that is bad about being a geek.

spanfastic (3, Insightful)

sporkme (983186) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961141)

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.

Device only works on dumb kids... (1)

ME-tan (995456) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961145)

...because GPS cannot get a signal through tinfoil. Even if the device reports you for cutting its power how will it know where it is going?

Mothering, the necessity of invention? (1)

SlashSquatch (928150) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961148)

Goddamn Nurds, always coming up with new ways to get the crap kicked out of them.

Might as well use magnets (1)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961158)

Years ago we had these digital speedometers that used a magnet on the wheel to detect speed. No need for GPS nonsense.

Re:Might as well use magnets (1)

chengmi (725888) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961323)

And how much money/time did it take to install?

This is appalling (2, Insightful)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

I wonder... (2, Informative)

no.17 (997011) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961161)

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... (3, Funny)

theonetruekeebler (60888) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961165)

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.

Way to shoot yourself in the foot (5, Funny)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961167)

Should be titled "Teen creates device to prevent himself from ever being invited to parties".

It sounds like EVERYTHING is recorded... (1)

asn (4418) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961168)

"His program weeds out extra information from the GPS, protecting teens' privacy" -- sounds like the GPS unit actually records all the data, but it is isn't until the parents try to view it on the computer that the software blocks out certain data...

The biggest design flaw though has to be that it plugs into the power outlet inside the cabin... just pull it out, and off you go. "Look Mom! no data! I've been good...."

unplug or... (1)

AZskylineGTR (794303) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961171)

As everyone said, either turn it off, or toss it in some kind of faraday cage or lead box or something, then the device is still on, but it cant track you...

Invention indeed! (1)

Aldric (642394) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961172)

Most vehicle trackers can do exactly what this does. I could produce a system to do this in about an hour, using a permanent covert-install tracker. Not to mention how ridiculously easy it is to block GPS.

Speed the problem? (1)

matw8 (901439) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961178)

This is based entirely on the premise that speeding is the problem, when in fact in most cases it's not. Inexperience, fatigue and alcohol and drug use can all cause accidents both above and BELOW the speed limit. Almost all "speed related" accidents also involve one of the above issues. So why the focus on speeding? Well it's the easiest to target and generate revenue from. It's also a win-win for the government due to the following two arguments. 1) fatalities decrease - "ticketing speeders works to lets increase enforcement (and revenue)" 2) fatalities increase - "we need more enforcement to combat speeding (and generate revenue)" Call me cynical but I'm from Victoria, Australia where speed cameras are proliferating and the tolerance is 3km/h!!! All in the name of safety???

Irish Insurance Company (1)

rivalgangs (997247) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961180)

An Irish insurance company had already implemented this technology, using a gps tracker in your car it would track your speed and if you went over the speed limit more than 3 times in any month it would firstly give you warnings then cancel your insurance. It would reduce your insurance but they seem to have stopped using the technology as young male drivers (who were the only ones ment to use this service) didnt sign up in their thousands. I wonder why...

Re:Irish Insurance Company (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961345)

As it happens, Ireland is actually a place where the system should have stood a good chance of working. Car insurance is extremely expensive for young male drivers. A system that could cut the bills in half should be seen as a good thing. I doubt the bad drivers would go for it, but the good ones in normal vehicles could.

BTW the reason that insurance is expensive is because there are a lot of chavs / monkeys in that age bracket who stand a good chance of crashing, killing or maiming. The funniest thing I ever saw was a protest against high car insurance for young drivers. It passed through the town I was in at the time. Without exaggeration, every single driver in the parade was a monkey in a Astra GT (or cars of similar ilk) modded with spoilers, paintjobs, loudspeakers, custom horns etc. This parade of idiots made the insurance companies' case for them.

A better idea (1)

msafri (900857) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961185)

Instead of keeping a static limit on speed there should be a wireless system for each area that broadcasts a constant signal for speed limits and associated area code. This could be accomplished with existing telecom infrastructure already in place (WiFi, WiMax, Mobile network). The vehicle need only be aware of its current location using GPS, from which it can determine the area code and match that with the wireless reception. An automated speed governor would be more effective that way. This sort of system would be useful not only for teens but overspeeding adults, for eg. those already indicted in traffic violations as a mandatory requirement from traffic courts.

I'm not sure that's the answer (5, Interesting)

symbolic (11752) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Cliff? (1)

yummy1991 (546737) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961222)

It'd be funny if you had some kid chuck it as far as he could off a cliff. Then disappear for a day.. Come back home and be like 'hey mom.'

Not always speed (5, Informative)

Trailwalker (648636) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not always speed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15961327)

IT guy for the cemetary? Working on that inter-life communications device? Ethernet drops in every coffin? What is it that you do there?

How does it protect against tampering? (1)

Hast (24833) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961226)

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.

Impractical idea, concept doesn't work well (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961228)

Ok, so say the parents set the speed limit at 55... so what if the speed limit is 25? The kid can go 30MPH over the speed limit and the parents would be none the wiser. What about smoking the tires at a red light, or racing? This won't pick it up at all.

I developed a system for a friend of mine to put in his kid's car that uses a MEMS accelerometer. We don't care so much about speed, but rather when the kid is accelerating, either longitudinally or laterally, at unacceptable levels. Basically, if he guns it, takes corners too fast, or brakes hard, we know about it. These factors are far more associated with reckless driving than is velocity. My device also logs the positions of all three pedals and also what gear the gearbox is in.

This not only keeps the kid driving safe, but also allows him to analyze his kid's Solo-2 runs.

yea... (1)

Heem (448667) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961242)

That kid is SO gonna get beat up at school.

Highway speed limits in us (1)

bxbaser (252102) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961246)

are up to 75 mph in some states. So unless you want your kids doing 50 mph on the highway you let them go 75 in the city.

Unnecessary features? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15961259)

I can accept some intrinsic value to trying to curb speeding. But the "foggy windshield detector"? That just seems spiteful...

The Problem with GPS and Speending... (1)

Brother Dysk (939885) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961277)

The problem with GPS and speeding is that it detects when you go above a speed limit (whether it be the one defined by traffic law, or in this case by your parents) but it cannot tell why. What if it's because you're overtaking? In that situation you want to go quite fast (above the limit almost certainly) in order to get back into the correct lane (and in many cases out of the way of oncoming traffic). But with a GPS device like this (and many many others like it that try to counteract speeding) you end up on the shitter for it - even if you were overtaking someone going 20 under the limit so that you could cruise along, unobstructed, at 10 below the limit. Seriously, GPS for the whole speeding thing? Not an ideal solution...

Of course! (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 7 years ago | (#15961335)

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 average, everyone who has a license now gets one speeding ticket/year. The majority of these tickets are for minor offences (10 km/h on roads outside built-up areas).

Maybe not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15961350)

Yeah, much safer that kids drive slowly through crack neighbourhoods on their way to buy drugs
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