Virtual versus "actual" parental accompaniment of teen drivers: A qualitative study of teens' views of in-vehicle driver monitoring technologies

Anat Gesser-Edelsburg, Nurit Guttman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of in-vehicle driver monitoring technologies is a promising approach to help enhance young drivers' driving safety, but its successful implementation might depend on its acceptance by the young drivers. The main purpose of the study was to elicit and understand the views of teens regarding "virtual accompaniment" by an in-vehicle monitoring system, as it compares to direct parental accompaniment. The study employed qualitative methods. A total of 137 teens participated. Personal individual interviews were conducted with 26 teens who had used the technology and 18 focus group interviews were conducted with teens who had not. The main findings were that the teens' conceptions of the virtual accompaniment were analogous to their conceptions of actual parental accompaniment in terms of its negative connotations (i.e.; invasion of privacy; restriction of independence). However, they also attributed positive functions to the technology as an "objective" indicator that would be acceptable to both parents and teen drivers when they perform well or need to improve particular driving maneuvers. Yet, the overriding conceptions of the technology were negative and viewed as an extension of parental supervision that could introduce tensions and frictions into the parent-young driver relationship. Another finding was that teens had mixed and contradictory views of their parents as role models. This has implications for their acceptance of parental authority regarding safer driving advice. The feedback from a more "objective" technological device could thus be viewed as more credible. These findings indicate that for both types of "accompaniment," parents require guidance regarding parent-young driver communication. Both kinds of "accompaniment" must be branded not as means for parents to employ sanctions but rather as means to enhance driving skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-124
Number of pages11
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by a grant from the Or Yarok Association for Safer Driving in Israel. We would like to thank the participants in the study, the researchers from Or Yarok, Tsippy Lotan and Einat Grimberg, who helped initiate the study and provided insights throughout, and the members of the research team: Moran Avital, the research coordinator, the research associates Galit Inbart, Linda-Renee Bloch, Uzi Levi and the research assistants Orit Hirsh, Shira Rosenblat, Shai Berkowitz, Smadar Noy and Efrat Ehrenthal.


  • "Virtual" versus "actual" accompaniment
  • In-vehicle driver monitoring technologies
  • Parental accompaniment of teen drivers
  • Qualitative study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Applied Psychology


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