Camera records drivers' mistakes

Near collisions trigger device to record what driver was doing at the time

By Jennifer Waugh - The Morning Show anchor, I-Team reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Ask most parents and they'll tell you the time their 16-year-old started driving alone is the moment that worried them the most.

"Putting your most precious thing behind the wheel and knowing that they're going out there on their own and starting to drive," Tabi Schultz, a local mother, describing her anxiety when her daughter, Madison, started driving.

She is one of millions of mothers who worry.

"I told her, 'No texting while driving, no changing the radio station.' I really didn't want her friends to be in the car, worried that they would talk to her and she would get distracted," explained Schultz.

DriveCam records driver's behind the wheel

Schultz had never heard of the DriveCam program offered by Lytx, that allows parents to install a camera in their teen,s car and records their driving habits.  The video is then uploaded to an online portal, allowing a parent to see what a driver is really doing behind the wheel.

The DriveCam fits in the palm of your hand and attaches, via suction cup, to the front windshield of any car, truck or semi-truck.  It has two cameras: one that records the driver and the passenger, the other records what's happening on the road in front of the vehicle. 

"It is always recording, but not saving unless there is an event," explained Greg Lund (pictured, below), Director of Communications for Lytx, based in California. 

An example of an event is if the driver brakes hard, speeds or swerves.  If this happens, video of the event is uploaded to Lytx, where staff will review the video to see if the event was caused by a distracted driver or something else going on outside the car that the driver could not avoid. 

If it is determined the driver was "at fault" then that portion of video, eight seconds before and four seconds after, is downloaded to an online portal.

Parents or anyone else with a private password can log in and view the event. 

'Seeing is believing, they can determine if their son or daughter is a great driver or doing some risky things," explained Lund.  Parents can use it as a teaching moment to talk to their teen about staying safe.

Video captured by Lytx customers whose cars were equipped with the drivecam recorded many teenagers distracted behind the wheel.  Some were texting, others were adjusting the radio, talking to a passenger or talking on the phone and can be seen running off the road or hitting other cars.

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The DriveCam program is primarily used by trucking company executives to monitor their drivers, but parents are also signing up to get a better idea of what their teens are doing in the driver's seat.

The camera is equipped with an accelerometer and other sensors that trigger when the driver stops short, swerves or speeds.  The company has access to national maps which provide speed limits on every road in the country.  

Lytx recently participated in a study with AAA that revealed more teenagers than once thought are driving while distracted.  

"That's why we participated in the study -- to get the word out that we all need to be less distracted and really concentrate on the road," said Lund.

The DriveCam program costs $49.99 per month for a one-year contract, which includes the cost of the camera.  Click here to learn more.

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