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tiwi introduces real time driving safety technology that mentors and monitors teen drivers

SALT LAKE CITY - Nov. 18, 2009 - Thanks to technology developed to improve safety for NASCAR and truck drivers, parents of teen drivers can worry a little less when their teenagers go solo behind the wheel.

The proprietary technology, used since 2003 in the world's most safety-conscious fleets, is being introduced to consumers by SALT LAKE CITY area based inthinc (www.inthinc.com). The consumer application, known as "tiwi," mentors and monitors teen drivers as they develop critical driving skills.

The tiwi teen mentoring system includes an on-board computer that instantly alerts and instructs teenage drivers and, at the same time, allows parents to receive real time notifications by phone, text or email about their teen's current location, actions and driving safety. The on-board computer is a simple device that can be installed on a car's front windshield and plugs into a car's under-dash diagnostic port in less than ten minutes.

"Auto crashes are the leading killer of teens in the country," said Todd W. Follmer, chief executive officer of inthinc. "tiwi is like having a driving instructor riding with the teen, reinforcing positive driving habits with real-time verbal alerts."

In May of 2009, following a study that utilized tiwi technology, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released a report about "In-Vehicle Monitoring and Driving Behavior of Teenagers" that found that equipping the cars teens drive with in-vehicle monitoring devices can help reduce driving risks. tiwi is the only on-board device that meets all the criteria in the report for encouraging and instilling sustainable positive driving behavior in teens.

"Monitoring devices can help reduce teens' risky driving," Anne McCartt, the Institute's senior vice president for research, said in the report. "And perhaps ease some of the worry parents face when their kids begin to drive."

The key monitoring features of tiwi include identifying vehicle location, seatbelt use, selected vehicle diagnostics, and aggressive driving behavior such as speeding, hard braking, turning and acceleration. The system provides real time verbal feedback in the form of verbal alerts to the driver when he or she exceeds thresholds that have been predetermined by the parent. The system allows teen drivers to correct driving errors without penalty or notification to a parent.

Teen driving data is collected by the on-board computer and transmitted by cellular modem to a web-based portal that provides a report card to the teen and parent over the course of a day, week, month or year.

"According to the IIHS report, real-time driver alerts, opportunity to correct a driving error and parental notification of uncorrected errors are critical features to learning safe driving habits," added Follmer. "tiwi raises awareness for inexperienced drivers, coaches them to correct improper driving behaviors and creates a sense of accountability and responsibility for the teen driver that will stay with them for years."

Customized "geo-zones" can be set though the web-based portal to alert parents and teen drivers when the vehicle passes into or out of designated geographic areas such as home, work or school.

The system also compares actual driving speed to posted speed limits housed in a proprietary data base, a feature known as "speed-by-street."

The system also features "eCall" capabilities for emergency dispatch, roadside assistance and hands-free wireless calling. The parent can call into the vehicle and speak directly to their teen.

The system retails for about $599 and is available online at www.tiwi.com.