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Hidden tracking device captures teen driving infractions

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DENVER — It’s probably one of the scariest moments in a parent’s life, handing over the car keys to your teenager. They may drive safely when you’re with them, but what happens when you’re not?

Studies show distracted driving is the number one cause of death among teens.

So we secretly put two teenagers to the test.

“She did have a couple of accidents within the first 6 months of driving,” Steve Swoboda of Denver told us. That’s why he allowed us to put a tracking device on his 17-year-old step-daughter Amanda’s car.

And Shelly Hegge of Aurora said “it’s scary,” so she gave us the go ahead to track 16-year-old son, Zachary, who just got his license.

We installed a “ROVR” on each of their vehicles.

The “ROVR,” made by the Colorado company “Cartasite,” keeps track of hard braking, rapid acceleration and speeding and issues a driving report card once a week.

Then we followed Amanda in her Volkswagen Beetle and Zachary Hegge in his Ram Truck to see if the teens were following all of the other rules of the road.

On a snowy December night, we caught Amanda rolling through two stop signs. Still, her overall ROVR test results weren’t that bad.

Her hard braking and rapid acceleration were only slightly above average. Both are indicators of distracted and aggressive driving.

When we confronted Amanda she admitted her mistakes.

“I’m guilty of rolling through a few stop signs. Yes, I am,” she said.

But our test took a turn for the worse with Zachary. A hidden camera caught him dialing and driving and texting behind the wheel.

We could barely keep up with him on I-70 as he was speeding 80 mph and we almost lost him as he screamed down residential streets, blowing through several stop signs.

Not surprisingly, Zachary’s ROVR test results were way above average for hard braking and rapid acceleration.

The ROVR even tracked him going nearly 80 mph in 40 mph zone–twice in one day.

Zachary was shocked when we let him in on our test.

“I’m Heidi Hemmat from FOX31, and we’ve been following you.”

“Uhhhhhhh…why?” Zachary said.

But he acknowledged his driving habits are dangerous.

So while the ROVR made Steve Swoboda feel much better about his stepdaughter’s driving–he said he’s optimistic–Shelly feels worse. She plans to keep the ROVR on Zachary’s truck until he can learn to “slow down and pay attention.”

“Cartasite” originally designed the ROVR to use on fleet vehicles. Along with hard braking, rapid acceleration and speeding it also tracks idling and nighttime driving to help companies cut down on gas use and accidents.

The ROVR is now available for consumers for $20.00 a month.

To learn more

Here are copies of our teen driver’s “ROVR” report cards. You can see both Amanda and Zachary were above average for hard braking and rapid acceleration.

Both are indicators of distracted and aggressive driving.

Click here to view Amanda’s report card

Click here to view Zachary’s report card

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