Slow Down, Junior--Tiwi's Talking

September 12, 2008
Teen driving

Teen driving

Detractors of increasing the driving age, as recommended by the IIHS, might just get a boost from a new bit of technology that acts as driving coach, nanny, and concerned parent all at once.

The Tiwi, brought to overburdened parents everywhere by Inthinc, does more than just use GPS triangulation to let parents know where their kids are. Smarter than your average black box, the Tiwi performs a host of functions designed to keep young drivers safe, slow, and secure. And grounded if they go one toe over the line.

Inthinc's new device knows local speed limits, and it yells at junior if he or she exceeds them. It also coaches the young driver, "mentoring much the way parents did from the passenger seat in the learning phase," according to AutoWeek. Finally, the box may also be used as a way to alert police in the event of an accident. Of note, the device can't actually slow the car down, but if its squawking loudspeaker warnings don't urge junior to rein in his speed, then Dad's angry voice surely will; when local or preset limits are exceeded, parents are alerted and may call the box and issue a warning (or, presumably, a death threat).

The device is connected via the OBD II port and rests on the dashboard. So, no, you can't install this in your beater '79 Ranchero that otherwise would still be parked up on blocks in the garage.

Tiwi went on sale in July for $549, not including a $25 to $35 monthly service fee that changes based on the level of interaction desired.

Thank God they didn't have these back when I used to drift my mom's Volvo wagon in the big dirt lot adjacent to the county dump. I'd still be grounded.--Colin Mathews

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