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Tesla’s New Update Aims to Stop Underage Driving—Here’s How

Youth unlicensed driving problem
Tesla presents a new solution
Was a protection function for underage drivers added in the update?

The scene of a Tesla vehicle accident / Teslarati

Accidents involving minors driving without a license continue to occur. How are these teenagers able to drive vehicles? While many use remote rental services, an increasing number are stealing or secretly taking their parents’ vehicles, leading to accidents.

Over the past five years, approximately 3,000 unlicensed traffic accidents involving minors under the age of 18 have occurred in South Korea. According to South Korea’s Road Traffic Authority, from 2018 to 2022, 81 people were reported to have died, and 4,272 were injured due to unlicensed driving accidents among teenagers. It was revealed that the number of unlicensed traffic accidents by age group was highest among people under 20.

News 1
News 1

Elementary school students also drove
Even drinking without a license

In January 2024, there was an incident in the Songdo area of ​​Incheon, South Korea, where a 15-year-old middle school student and a 12-year-old elementary school student took turns driving for about 13 km (8.1 miles) without a license. The vehicle belonged to the elementary school student’s father, and the two were arrested by the police, who received the report. Still, it was revealed that they were sent home because they were minors (law-breaching minors).

In April 2024, an accident occurred in Gwangju, South Korea, where a person driving a motorcycle while drunk crashed into a vehicle. The driver of the motorcycle, an 18-year-old high school boy, suffered a severe leg injury and was taken to a nearby hospital, while the driver of the car suffered minor injuries. Some believe that the persistent issue of unlicensed driving accidents among minors stems from the relatively light punishment for these offenses.

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Tesla speed limit mode / YouTube channel nukem384

Maximum speed limit possible
Set a night curfew

Meanwhile, last Wednesday, Tesla, an American electric vehicle manufacturer, conducted a large-scale software update expected to resolve some of the previous problems. This update made convenience-related updates, such as enabling YouTube Music, displaying weather forecasts and air quality conditions, and reserving vehicle charging and preconditioning through the mobile app.

A notable update is the minor protection feature. If drivers activate this function with a PIN in the vehicle, the function is set to limit the maximum speed and acceleration settings that do not reach a certain speed to the Chill mode of FSD (Full Self-Driving). It provides the ability to configure night curfew times by receiving notifications through the Tesla mobile app when the vehicle drives beyond the curfew hours.

Minor hit and run accident scene / Bobae Dream
A teenage driver hit two adults, a man and a woman / News 1

There are many opinions against children driving
Update welcome in the US

Although preventing minors from driving due to vehicle theft or simplified procedures will be challenging, the minor protection feature is expected in order to avoid them from taking out the vehicle and causing an accident without notifying their parents. Once parents set a time to drive the vehicle, they can know in real-time if the car is moving outside of that time, and even if a minor is already driving, the maximum speed is limited to prevent accidents due to speeding.

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