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Tech For Teens Behind the Wheel: Speed Trackers and Virtual Reality

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Young drivers carry the highest risk of accidents, but automakers hope a slate of new gadgets and apps will lessen that danger.

General Motors' "Teen Driver" system -- which comes installed in some 2016 Chevrolet Malibu models -- allows parents to set speed limits, reminders and audio controls for their child as they drive. Parents can even access performance reports after the teen's ride.

But you don't need to buy a new car to take advantage of new tech. Third-party apps and devices can work with your current car to help. For example, the Delphi Connect device from Verizon Wireless tracks a car's diagnostic information and location.

"Based on your location, it will send an alert to parents to show speeding," Verizon's Jonathan Moss told NBC.

Related: 'Psychic Robot' System Guesses Intentions From Your Movements

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is also testing automatic braking technology, which relies on sensors at the front of a car that could stop crashes before they happen.

"It first issues a warning, hoping to get the driver to step on the brakes or take some evasive maneuver," says the IIHS's David Zuby. If the driver doesn't respond in some way, the system automatically applies the brakes.

Other methods employ virtual reality to try to discourage distracted driving, which is a factor in more than half of teen driver crashes, according to AAA.

Related: World's First Self-Driving Truck Hits German Highway

A simulator from AT&T and the company's "It Can Wait" campaign shows teens the consequences of distracted driving before it happens in real life. They put on a headset that makes them feel like they're behind the wheel, and the simulation puts everyday obstacles in their way: someone crossing at a crosswalk, a cyclist, a car swerving. The system shows teens how quickly something terrible can happen when drivers look at their phones for just a moment.

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