Minnesota Department of Transportation Research Services Section
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of teen fatalities. A Teen Driver Support System (TDSS) was
developed by the ITS Institute that can allow parents to accurately monitor their teen's driving behavior in relation
to known risk factors and Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) provisions. The TDSS, based on a teen's smart
phone, provides real-time, contextual in-vehicle feedback to the teen about his or her driving behavior and helps
parents monitor certain known risk factors. The system does not allow incoming or outgoing phone calls (except
911) or texting while driving. Feedback to the teen driver includes visual and auditory warnings about speeding,
excessive maneuvers (e.g., hard braking, cornering), and stop sign violations. The TDSS prototype also monitors
seat belt use and detects the presence of passengers (e.g., based on GDL provisions), two known factors that
increase the risk of fatalities among teen drivers. The TDSS can also be programmed to monitor driving during the
GDL curfew or a curfew set by parents. A usability review of the prototype TDSS using 30 parent-teen dyads from
Washington Country, MN, found that teens and parents held favorable opinions about most of the TDSS functions.
Teens and parents both felt that use of the system early in licensure may result in the adoption of safer driving
habits even after the system is removed from the vehicle. Several recommendations to improve the system’s
usability are made based on the results.
MN Dept of Transportation
Research Services Section; ITS Institute
University of Minnesota
Creaser, Janet; Gorjestani, Alec; Manser, Michael; Donath, Max.
Usability Evaluation of a Smart Phone-based Teen Driver Support System (TDSS).
Minnesota Department of Transportation Research Services Section.
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