FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

You’ve got questions; we’ve got answers.

How do parents get involved in the Teen Safe Driver Program?

This site is a great first step for both you and your teen. Start by taking the Safe Driver Pledge. It creates awareness of risky driving behaviors for motorists of all experience levels.

Then, together, use our online tools, discuss common causes of accidents and watch our videos of real-life driving situations.

Finally, sign up for the in-car technology, available free for one year to our current auto insurance customers with a licensed teen driver.

How much does the program cost?

The Teen Safe Driver Program is completely free for one year to American Family auto insurance policyholders with a licensed teen driver. The in-car technology can be professionally installed for free in about a half hour.

How does participation affect premiums?

Participation in the Teen Safe Driver Program in no way affects policies or rates. Results are confidential and sent only to the individual participants; American Family does not see them.

How does the in-car technology work?

A motion sensor is installed near the rearview mirror of a participating teen's vehicle. When triggered by erratic movement, such as swerving, hard braking and sudden acceleration, the device records sights and sounds both inside and outside the vehicle.

When the device is triggered, images and sounds are sent wirelessly to the Teen Safe Driver Center, where professional driving coaches review the footage. Parents can log in to a confidential website and review a weekly report card featuring video footage and an objective assessment of their teen driver's performance, including a comparison to other teens.

What are the benefits of using the in-car technology?

The technology provides direct feedback – viewable by both parents and teens – that helps develop safe driving habits. To date, more than 10,000 families have enrolled in this program, decreasing risky driving behavior by 70 percent and increasing seat belt use to 96 percent.

How does this differ from other technology?

Other programs use technology that only addresses part of the risky driving behavior problem, such as GPS location tracking, speed and cell phone blocking. These tools don't tell parents what is happening inside the car to cause risky driving (e.g., texting, passenger distractions, failure to scan the road, etc.). Our in-car technology provides audio and video feedback before and after a triggered event to help teens learn safe driving habits.

Does this program "invade" a teen's privacy?

The in-car technology is not a monitoring device and is only used to record events when the motion sensor is triggered. No other footage is stored. Since incidents are only documented when high-risk driving behavior occurs, teens control when the device is activated. Parents can only view the sights and sounds of risky driving behavior, and that information is strictly confidential.

Can parents "tap into" the camera and view teens in their vehicles at any time?

No. Parents can only view sights and sounds of risky driving behavior after they have been reported to the Teen Safe Driver Center and provided to them through an online report card.

Do teens who are already good drivers really benefit from this program?

Most parents believe their teen is an above-average driver. In reality, teen behavior behind the wheel varies greatly depending on whether they’re driving alone or with friends. Teens are often overconfident in their driving skills and underestimate risky situations. This program is like an extension of driving school to ensure teens develop safe driving habits by helping parents coach their teens.

What's in it for the participating teen?

Teens are naturally apprehensive about having a device installed in their car to record erratic vehicle movement, so it's important to remember that the recorder is only triggered when events activate the motion sensor. This program allows teens to become aware of many risky driving situations and how to handle them safely or avoid them altogether.

Teens with safe driving habits are less likely to be involved in an accident, and this builds trust between parents and teens.

Also, teens are frequently blamed in the event of an accident. Families participating in the in-car technology have used the video events to prove that their teen was not at fault during a collision.