EarthSearch Communications Inc., manufacturer of the AutoSearchGPS device, has announced the rollout of a pilot program with Mazda USA of a device that allows parents to monitor and alter teen driving behavior from a cell phone or computer. The vehicle-management device -- currently offered as an option to Mazda vehicles at select Atlanta dealerships -- is the latest weapon to be deployed in the battle to reduce teen driving fatalities.

Despite stringent state legislation and driver education programs, car crashes remain the leading cause of teen deaths (16- to 20-year-olds) in the United States. Traffic safety sources report more than 3,400 teen driver fatalities every year, 275 last year in Georgia alone. The thought of losing a child to a car accident is every parent's worst nightmare -- it is impossible to ignore the staggering statistics. Sixteen-year-olds are three times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than the average of all drivers.

"This technology offers parents a variety of protective measures to minimize the deadly risks associated with teen driving," said Kayode Aladesuyi, CEO of EarthSearch Communications Inc. (ESC). "Since speed is the determining factor in many teen driving accidents and fatalities, many parents choose to put a speed restriction on their children's driving behavior." Parents are alerted via phone if their child exceeds a pre-determined speed or strays beyond a certain perimeter, he added. The parent also has the option of remotely disabling the vehicle from their cell phone as soon as the driver turns off the ignition.

The vehicle-management device has the following state-of-the-art capabilities from an application on a cell phone or computer:

  • Movement Sensor -- receive an alert if there is unauthorized movement of the vehicle
  • Locate/Track -- ability to locate and track your vehicle in real time or with the assistance of EarthSearch customer support
  • Disable/Enable engine remotely for enhanced security ("disable function" can only be executed when engine is disengaged)
  • Alerts -- receive various alerts: silent alarm, movement, speed, battery disconnect, geo-fence.
This high-tech weapon in the emotional nationwide fight to protect teen drivers and passengers has been a long time coming for the manufacturer, EarthSearch Communications, which began work on the tracking device in 2004. "We are very proud of the product we've developed," Aladesuyi said. "We believe our technology will dramatically reduce teen driving deaths. Period." Although the initial product rollout is confined to the Atlanta metro area, ESC plans to take the technology national in the coming months.