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Teen Safe Driver Program gives parents a back seat

By Staff | Apr 3, 2008

Bob Jensen, left, of Bob Jensen American Family Insurance, shows a promotional publication for the Teen Safe Driver Program sponsored by American Family Insurance. Parents who insure their teens through American Family can qualify for a program in which a motion-activated mini-cam is mounted on the rear of the car windshield. The program has been proven to greatly reduce teen risky driving. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

Wouldn’t it be great if you could become invisible and ride along with your teenager whenever he or she borrows the car?

Now you can.

Bob Jensen American Family Insurance of Estherville is participating in the Teen Safe Driver Program. Geared toward newly licensed drivers aged 16, the program offers free installation of a minicam on the back of the car rearview mirror. The camera is motion activated, so whenever there’s a quick acceleration of breaking, the camera comes on and records what’s going on inside the car (haven’t you just been dying to know, Mom?).

If you’ve already been thinking about doing something similar, the cost of installing a program yourself would cost $2,000.

The program is free, though, to parents who insure their teenage drivers through American Family Insurance.

American Family is the first and only company to offer the program which began last November. “American Family views it as a public service education tool,” Jensen said.

If you’re worried about Big Brother, don’t. The program is not for the insurance company to monitor teen driving. Only parents will know what’s really going on and the program is intended as an educational tool for parents and teens to view together so they can talk about how to develop good driving habits. Jensen said teens who have used the program have saved countless dollars in claims.

The camera is typically mounted in the teen’s car for one year. After that time, most people have formed their driving habits.

Jensen said the program has increased teen seatbelt usage by 100 percent and reduced risky driving the first year by 70-90 percent. That’s important, considering that 16-year-old drivers have five times the accident rate as middle-aged drivers.

Approximately 45 percent of auto deaths are caused by drivers in the age range of 15-19.

For more information about the program, call Bob Jensen American Family Insurance at 362-4313 or go online to www.teensafedriver.com