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Technological advances have made cars safer in many ways. There are systems that brake if a collision is imminent, warn the driver and take control if the car leaves the lane and issue alerts when pedestrians step into the road.

To those, add systems that will warn parents if their teenager is misbehaving behind the wheel.

Many vehicle manufacturers now offer driving monitors as optional or standard equipment. Among them are Lexus, Volkswagen, General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Kia and Hyundai. Aftermarket devices are available, as well.

(We pause here to note the irony of the situation: The parents who are clamoring for these systems are the same people who are glad they didn't exist 25 years ago when they were teenage drivers.)

A report on teenage driving by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that in 2018, 2,121 people were killed in accidents involving a driver 15 to 18 years old. The report said that the graduated driver licensing systems that have been adopted by all states have reduced crash risks, but motor vehicle crashes still were the leading cause of death for 15- to 18-year-olds in the United States.

On the 2021 General Motors Trailblazer, the monitoring system can be activated by working one's way through the dashboard display's menu to the "teen driver" section. There, a PIN is chosen that enables parental control of variables. After choosing "setup keys" in the menu, the driver's vehicle key can be linked to the system by placing it in a console receptacle and clicking OK. The monitoring system will be active only when the vehicle is driven with that key.

Using another menu item, the parent can set a speed limit. If that limit is exceeded while the vehicle is being driven with the activated key, the driver is warned and the data is recorded. An audio system volume limit can be set, as well (the sound system won't switch on until seat belts have been fastened). And critical safety systems like blind-spot warning can't be disabled.

The system records data on a report card that can be seen only after entering the PIN at the conclusion of the drive. The data includes the maximum speed attained and distance driven. Reported as well are the number of speed warnings issued, wide-open throttle events, forward-collision alerts, forward automatic-braking occurrences and traction-control applications — pretty much everything a parent needs to gauge how a teenager is doing behind the wheel.

Tricia Morrow, a Chevrolet safety engineer, uses the system to monitor her newly driving daughter. "When she comes home, I can look at the vehicle report card, see how far she drove and what speed was recorded. The report card stimulates conversation with your teen."

Ford offers a similar system called My Key that offers many of the same functions. In addition, My Key includes a low-fuel reminder that might save Dad or Mom from a rescue mission.

Hyundai's Blue Link Vehicle Safeguards Alerts enables parents to limit the vehicle's speed, hours of operation and range. It differs from the GM and Ford systems by sending an alert via text or e-mail when the speed limit is exceeded. Should someone try to drive the car after a curfew, the owner is alerted. Kia, a Hyundai partner, offers the similar UVO eServices system.

Functioning much like the Hyundai/Kia system, a Guest Driver system on Lexus and Toyota vehicles provides real-time alerts.

A number of aftermarket companies offer monitoring systems that tap the vehicle's OBDII port to obtain vehicle data. All cars manufactured after 1996 are equipped with this port, which is used primarily to enable service facilities to download vehicle performance data.

Most suppliers of driving monitors charge upfront for the device and require a monthly fee for the reporting service. You can get a basic aftermarket system for under $100, with a one-year monitoring agreement for about $10 a month. The more sophisticated the system, of course, the higher the cost.

None of these systems can replace parental supervision. But discussing monitoring system data with a teenager can open the door to constructive dialogue. And help keep teen drivers safe.