Monitoring Your Au Pair’s Driving Using Car Apps and Tools

by cv harquail on March 11, 2016

In the new era of the quantified self, we have Fitbits for counting steps, apps for managing nutrition, online calendars to coordinate schedules, and GPS to get us where we need to go.

6259521286_30ecd72e41_mMany of us use these tools not only for our selves, but also to organize our Au Pairs.

We also now have options for gathering data that we only could guess at before.  

Take cars and driving, for example.

It took me a few months to realize that one of our au pairs was routinely breaking our family car use policy. It wasn’t until I drove the Au Pair car one day and noticed nearly 500 miles “extra” miles on the odometer — and asked our Au Pair where they came from — that I learned that she’d been driving over 50 miles each way to see her new boyfriend perform with his band.  These were not only too many miles, but also highway miles, late night miles, and into the big, bad city miles– all verboten by our family car use policy.

And this, from one of our most responsible au pairs.

Now I get mailers from USAA (our car insurance company) advertising easy-t0-install monitors and apps that will help me track the specifics of any driver’s behavior — including average speed, rough braking, and more. And, they’ll even give me a discount on my insurance if I put one of these on our car.


I’ve wondered if any family has tried these with an Au Pair car? It seems like a great idea to have that data and to be able to use it to guide your Au Pair’s training and expectations.

Then I got this email, below:     

 We are currently hosting our 4th AP and are 7 weeks into a match that seems fine, but certainly not amazing.  The kids seem to like him (which is great!), but everything else is pretty mediocre when compared with our other au pairs and our expectations.  In the past we have had 2 successful matches and 1 rematch.

Here is the issue, though:   Our previous au pairs did not drive, as we live in a city with great transit and opportunities for walking/biking.  We recently moved to a new house that is slightly less ideal for transit (although still a good option), so decided to give the AP a car to use.
We added him to our car insurance in the second week of his stay, and the insurance company suggested that we use a monitoring toggle to track our driving for 6 months (because you can get discounts, etc. on the insurance).
We went for it without really considering what information it might give us and what we might do with that information. 
BUT, upon looking into the AP’s driving patterns, we are shocked and terrified.  He is speeding almost always (45 in a 25mph zone, 53 in a 35, etc.) has frequent “hard stops,” frequent “rapid accelerations,” and apparently lets the car idle for 15-20+ minutes at a time (maybe when picking the kids up or something?).  None of these things show up when my husband and I are driving, which provides us a baseline for differences between what we consider safe driving and his driving.
Two of our children have also commented (unasked) that he drives too fast and slams on the brakes a lot, and they have no knowledge of the toggle monitoring his driving.
I’m torn to know what to do.  I’m worried that our children are not safe in the car with him, and yet, I fully realize that most HF’s don’t even have this sort of information to go from because why would we?  Driving toggles aren’t a common thing, I imagine.
Until last night when we saw the driving data we were willing to keep coaching and reminding and trying to make the match work out primarily because the children are happy.  If he was a stellar AP maybe this would feel like an easier issue, but we are also feeling exhausted by the lack of help with au pair duties beyond simply playing with the kids and driving them to and from school activities (he’s terrible in the kitchen, cannot cook, leaves messes for us to clean up, and generally is not helpful beyond what I explicitly ask him to do over and over again).  He’s a nice guy with terrible English, so it’s also difficult to communicate and build the relationships deeper than the very basics.  I’m also wondering how he is going to handle all 3 kids in the summer alone (he’s rarely with all 3 alone now), and now I’m fearful of letting him drive with them at all.
Anyhow, I’m leaning towards rematch, but wondering if that is unfair?  We have spoken with him at length about speeding and safe driving and he really thinks he’s a great and safe driver.  I’d love your thoughts.
 ~Quantified Host Mom


Former AP Now HM March 11, 2016 at 11:15 am

I think if your children have mentioned that he drives too fast and brakes hard then that’s enough. You don’t need the driving data to know that they feel unsafe in the car with him. The fact that you have the data gives you more concrete evidence, but even if you didn’t have it you’d know that he isn’t as good a driver as he thinks he is.

I’d rematch. An au pair is supposed to enrich your life – and yours isn’t.

FirstTimeHM March 11, 2016 at 11:26 am

There are a few things that stood out for me and those have to do with self reflection. He thinks he’s a great driver, you and your kids don’t think so. He probably thinks he’s a great AP, you think he’s mediocre. He thinks his English is already quite good, you’ve got difficulty communicating with him. He thinks his job is to make the kids happy, extra tasks being optional, you think he should do both (and without you having to ask more than once).
Just like common sense self-reflection is something people either have or don’t have at that particular age. For young adults it’s not easy to look critically at their own behaviour and that is something your AP needs to do to become good at his job.
I’d recommend a reset-conversation, possibly with the LCC present, to address his attitude. He needs to reflect on his own behaviour, you’ve told him already what he needs to do, what he can’t do (speeding) and how he needs to pitch in. You’re very early in the year, the kids and you haven’t really bonded with him, so both you and he have good opportunities for rematch.

Taking a Computer Lunch March 11, 2016 at 12:42 pm

I always believe in treating APs like I would want to be treated by my supervisor. I wouldn’t want her to walk into my office one day and fire me without notice, I’d want a conversation with benchmarks established.

I, too, vote for a reset your attitude conversation. Tell him your kids are complaining that he drives too fast and brakes too hard, and you are concerned about their safety (don’t play your hand that you KNOW he does it – yet). Give him a chance to improve. Tell him you want him to clean up after himself and do the chores. If he doesn’t work 45 hours per work, then tell him to do some during his “free” time on his own (as long as it doesn’t bring him over 45 hours) or you will schedule it as work time and tell him when to do the chores. Finally, stress the need to enroll in an English class (his LCC may have some ideas for free classes – our local libraries run English conversation clubs). Encourage him to eat dinner with you and pointedly ask non-yes/no questions to help him practice. Give him benchmarks for improvement and tell him they are mandatory.

Follow up everything you’ve told him in an email (because many APs read better than they speak and listen) and copy your LCC.

Then, email or call your LCC and ask her to follow up with him. Sometimes APs need to be told that your expectations are standard and realistic before they will do what they consider non-kid work.

Then, follow up with weekly meetings. The driving doesn’t improve? Then play your hand, show him the data, and use the word rematch (whether you mean immediately or you want to give him another week to improve). If you mean immediately, you may want the LCC there so she can see the data, too!

Emerald City HM March 11, 2016 at 3:59 pm

I agree definitely time for a conversation at the very least. You don’t have to bring up the data yet.

Did you do a driving assessment with him?

Fortysomething HM March 11, 2016 at 6:00 pm

I would typically agree that a reset (or similar) conversation is usually warranted, to give the AP/employee a chance to improve. What gives me concern here though, is the major safety issue of driving. The kids don’t feel safe and the data confirms their feelings are justified. Imagine if something happened while the AP was driving the kids how terrible it would be?

OP do you need the AP to drive the kids as part of the job? If so, I think that this is a situation where moving right to rematch is warranted.

Alternatively, if your child care and financial circumstances (and your sanity) allow for it, you could have the reset convo on all the points you raised, and consider temporarily having the AP not drive the kids while you get him some driving lessons/evaluation.

For me, though, the safety issues trump everything and the risk does not seem worth it, esp given that he is not exactly hitting it out of the ballpark in other aspects of the job (particularly during the honeymoon phase).

Good luck!

HRHM March 11, 2016 at 11:58 am

We got a Viper autostarter put in our minivan one year when we couldn’t fit in the garage and didn’t want to go out to a freezing vehicle all the time. Lo and behold, the smartstart app that came with it had all sorts of data available that I never though it would. It was my minivan but generally, it was used by whoever had the kids, which means it was mostly the AP car. I could see when she exceeded the max speed, (65mph) could see where she was, when it was running or not, etc. She was generally a decent driver although she had a fender bender during her year (so far, most have) and I didn’t hear any issues from the kids. She also did a pretty good job as an AP in general.

I would have no compunction about using tracking apps for MY VEHICLE (and they are ALL my vehicle even the ones I never drive) and I would do so while making it clear to the AP involved what and when and how it tracks. I would also review any concerning data ASAP and correct behaviors quickly. Any AP who doesn’t like it can buy her own car…

With OPs situation, it sounds like he’s not a good AP, not a good driver, not a good flatmate and you should rematch soon because summer will be here shortly and that’s the last thing you need!

NBHostMom March 11, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Echo-ing what has been said, it’s reset conversation time.

From me, he’d receive the following message:

1) a copy of the the driver’s handbook and he’d be informed him that his driving will be electronically monitored.

2) painfully clear written expectations on chores

3) a list of local English courses with an offer of paying the fees on successful completion and on meeting #1 & #2 above

Weekly “performance check-ins” would be setup to discuss his progress. He’d be receiving a copy of driving data weekly

AlwaysHopeful HM March 11, 2016 at 3:04 pm

I agree that reset is appropriate, and you should address all of the issues,, not just the driving.

As for he monitor, I have one on the au pair car. It is set up so that the au pair and I both receive real time notifications of things like speeding, exceeding idle threshold, etc. Is that something you could do with yours? It might drive home the point for him. Incidentally, I do NOT have it linked to my insurance coverage. That seems like a pure gotcha to me, although I guess it would depend on the amount of any potential discount.

ATXmom July 3, 2016 at 9:24 am

Can you please tell me what monitor you are using? I love our au pair but she is not very responsible when it comes to driving. Two tickets already, both with the kids in the car and I have witnessed her turning left on red also with the kids. We grounded her and had her take defensive driving but my husband witnessed her peel out of our driveway and again out of street, cutting another car off a couple of days ago. At this point I would say she knows how to drive but isn’t responsible or careful about it. I don’t think taking her personal car time away is the right solution because there aren’t many public transport options in the area and I would rather give feedback so she improves. Thoughts welcome :)

AlwaysHopeful HM July 4, 2016 at 10:35 pm

I use Mastrack, but I’m not sure a monitor is going to give you what you need. It is good for someone who needs to be alerted to their driving errors and/or understand that she is being watched. It sounds like your au pair knows that she is making errors, knows that you are aware, and still has not chosen to do anything to change. To me, it sounds like a direct conversation, with LCC involved is needed at this point.

Returning HM July 4, 2016 at 11:56 pm

I am a little surprised how blasé you sound here. Your AP is driving unsafely with your children in the car, you and your DH have seen this, she knows you’ve seen it, and still she is not changing her ways. What more do you need to turn this into the BIG DEAL that it should be? The way I see it, driving is one of the few areas where a careless mistake can have life or death consequences. Knowing what you know now, can you really say that you feel safe with her driving your children?

Think about if your AP were to have an accident in which, God forbid, she really hurt someone. You have described her above as an irresponsible and careless driver. Can you really say, then, that this hypothetical accident with great consequences was such a huge surprise?

In your shoes, I would be taking away all driving privileges until she really, really gets it. I would have a sit down with the Lcc present and say very very clearly that safe driving is a must and that rematch is the only other option. If she isn’t prepared to act responsibly and carefully with your children, how can you trust her to keep them safe?

cv harquail July 5, 2016 at 7:54 am

I’ve got to second this comment.

If you’re *actually* feeling resigned, or blase, or helpless — think about why this is the case. (Maybe it’s just how you wrote it, or how it comes across in an email, or not).

Driving is one of the few areas where we Host Parents can concretely force/ impel/ motivate au pairs to change their behavior by controlling access to a valuable – and dangerous- resource. Just because public transportation is not easily available doesn’t mean that an au pair who drives carelessly should have access to the car.

LuckyHM#3 July 5, 2016 at 12:23 pm

I too would 2nd this comment. In my view, driving is pretty much one of the few ways that an AP can really actually kill your kids. I dont really believe that you are blase about this just how its coming across in your post. Your username sounds like you are in Austin, TX. If this is correct, I think that driving and roads in TX are a lot more dangerous than a lot of other states, the roads are wide and speed limits sometimes in my opinion dont always make sense for the type of roads that you are driving on so the potential for accidents is really high.
It is imperative that you do something about this. Taking away all driving priviledges should be a start. Call your LCC/AD today and get a meeting scheduled with AP. Give her time to show a change and if that is not demonstrated, rematch. Perhaps, she may even ask for a rematch after you take away driving privileges but ultimately, you can allow this to continue

dorsi March 11, 2016 at 4:07 pm

A white lie that might help here is to tell him that you are concerned about his driving because of the children’s comments. Therefore, you have decided to install the driving toggle. If he makes mistakes going forward, he’s clearly not able to make a change in his driving.

Just to reiterate the point that has been said many times before, if an Au Pair is not at his or her best during the first month or two, they are unlikely to rise to the occasion.

WarmStateMomma March 11, 2016 at 5:09 pm

He’s not going to change his driving habits. Period. He believes he is driving well and anything you have to say is silly worrying. We had an AP like this (who was amazing in other ways). She crashed the car and was pretty shaken up by the experience.

I would just tell him he cannot use the car again. The insurance company is threatening to quadruple your rates if he stays on – whatever reason you want to give. It’s just not worth the risk and expense because he will not change the way he drives overall (even if he agrees to abide by a few concrete rules).

For the other stuff, I’d have the mediation with the LCC and give him a chance to improve. Prepare a checklist in advance of this meeting of the stuff he should be doing daily and another for his weekly duties. Be detailed so he can’t half-ass the tasks. Get him to agree to this with the LCC present. If he doesn’t rise to the occasion in the next two weeks, the agency should let you rematch without any extra hassle/delays.

Take the keys away today!

LeftCoast Mama March 11, 2016 at 5:52 pm

I’m the OP and truly appreciate all of these comments. I realized that I didn’t make it clear in the original post that our au pair already knows that his driving is being monitored, so his patterns are with full knowledge that we are seeing speeding, acceleration, hard brakes, etc. This makes me wonder even more.

At any rate, I took all of your re-set comments to heart and talked with our LCC. I emailed him a list of clear expectations (again) that we have agreed to many times over the past few weeks, and scheduled a check-in meeting with him on Sunday when we get back in town. I’ve spent SO much time and effort getting this AP up to speed, and honestly, I’m tired of investing more time if he can’t launch from here. Two months into this match and I don’t feel that it’s too much to ask that he be close to fully functional (of course, if you have a different viewpoint, I’m always open to those, too).

Thanks, again, for all of the comments! I love this board.

Taking a Computer Lunch March 13, 2016 at 4:21 pm

He knows his driving is being monitored and your kids are complaining. I’d take away the keys to the car (if you are able), have a reset that mentions you are considering rematch and give him benchmarks to meet pronto! If he wants keys back, then he has to take driving lessons and acquire the state driving license by passing a road test (even if he could simply turn in his country’s license). Whatever bad habits he picked up in his native country will not be tolerated by either his examiner or you! If the LCC doesn’t come to the meeting, then email him your comments and copy her! In any case, have him sign a print-out of the email to indicate that he agrees to the benchmarks. Have your LCC reinforce the idea that neither the chores nor the driving are unreasonable expectations! (AP #8 said “I didn’t come here to be a housemaid.” I spent an entire year job coaching her because DH didn’t want to go into rematch. We both agreed at the end of the year that it just wasn’t worth it.)

Mimi March 11, 2016 at 6:07 pm

We don’t have any monitoring of the AP car and are unlikely to ever install something for monitoring. We do an extensive evaluation of the APs driving and drive with them frequently enough to know if there is an issue. We also have older kids who can (and will) report back issues if needed. We are fairly permissive with the car (when merited) so mileage and other issues aren’t a problem for us as it is an older model car for the APs exclusive use.

For this AP, I think he really is ignorant to some of the issues the OP has presented and a conversation about them is warranted before rematch or other action should be taken as TACL has suggested. The biggest part of having a successful AP match and experience is communication. This is true for a lot of relationships and even more important where cultural differences are concerned. If an AP leaves messes, he needs to be told to clean up after himself (while there’s still something to clean up). If you have to repeat things more than once, you need to tell him why it is a problem for you. “You may not realize this is a problem for me, but having to repeat X to you is very frustrating. This is an important part of your job as an AP and as a part of this household and I find it disrespectful that you do not seem to be paying attention when I talk to you about this.” If the information isn’t in your handbook, put it in and follow up all of this in writing. (Documentation!!!)

For the driving, I would tell him that you have some concerns about his driving and that while he may think his driving is good, you disagree and that there are specific elements he needs to work on. Tell him what they are (with or without revealing the toggle is up to you, but I would wait) and that you will do some driving with him (set a date) to reevaluate his driving. If you don’t do regular drop in driving checks with your APs, I would recommend them. Once a driver becomes more comfortable in a car and a locale, they can get careless and it is always helpful to make sure that they are driving in a safe manner, especially as the liability for the vehicle is yours.

Frankfurt AP Boy March 11, 2016 at 6:23 pm

It seems to me like you’ve already made the decision that you should rematch. I think though it is a good idea that you go down the root of giving a ultimatum that he improves – in the way that previous posters have said. At least it will serve as a way of making you feel better about your final decision and also so that he doesn’t feel its such a shock. And hey who knows maybe he can change all the things you don’t like, however improbable it seems.

As for the monitoring toggle… whatever you decide to do I think you should tell him that its on the car and recording what he’s doing. I know you said when you put it on you weren’t sure about the information it was going to collect but now you do know I think you have a duty to tell him. I would feel quite betrayed if a family was logging that type of thing without making me aware of it.

AlwaysHopeful HM March 11, 2016 at 7:16 pm

I agree with Frankfurt AP Boy. I would not use the monitor without disclosing it. Seems too nanny-camish to me.

Since you already have it, can you start fresh and just tell him youre installing one now? Then let him drive a little on his own and re.view the data together. And what is downside to disclosing it? I put my monitor in place after one au pair took the car to an unauthorized area and later received a speeding ticket. I was very open about the fact that I was installing it, the alerts we would receive, and the fact that I could also run a report at any tIme to see where the car had been (or where it was). We received one speeding alert after installing it, and I questioned AP about it. It never happened again. I think having an objective tracker may be easier to accept (and modify behavior based on) than a more fuzzy “I think you drive too fast and my kids think you’re a bad driver.” We’ve had two au pairs since the install, and just let them know we have it. No one has raised any concerns about it, but I can imagine they might be quite upset if I never told them they were being “tracked.”

HRHM March 12, 2016 at 12:49 pm

I also agree with disclosing the monitor. My feeling about all sorts of monitors (nanny cam, front porch security cam, phone monitor, computer monitor etc) is that they exist first as a deterrent. I advertise my security system because I DON”T want evidence when there is a theft, I want to prevent it in the first place. I feel the same way about the car toggle. You’re goal shouldn’t be to catch him driving unsafely (your kids are in the car!) it’s to make sure he’s being a good driver. If he knows he’s being monitored it will for sure let you know that what you’re seeing in the data is his best. If he’s still having issues, it’s because he’s just not a good driver and may never be! My Mom, for her whole 76 years, was a TERRIBLE driver. She was crappy when I was a kid, rotten when I was a teen, frightening when I was an adult and scary in her last years. We teased her relentlessly, she know what our complaints were, she took it like a champ but she NEVER improved. Some people just don’t have it.

R March 13, 2016 at 12:49 pm

I agree 100 percent. I am concerned that some people does not feel the AP needs to know he/she is being monitored whilst driving. Monitoring someone at their work (or tracking their car) without them knowing is a grey area, and can land you in trouble legally. If I had a company car (including personal use) and I did not know it was being monitored I would be fuming and feel betrayed and lied to.

The main reasons of having the monitor installed in the first place is so you (or your AP) can prove that you are a safe driver. My suggestion is that you make your AP aware of the monitor as he is more likely to drive more carefully, which is what you wanted in the first place. If he does not then you can have a conversation about it, or potentially rematch.

LeftCoast Mama March 13, 2016 at 4:27 pm

I am the OP and our AP has been aware of the monitor from the day we installed it. Our intention was to use whatever information the program provided as a check-in tool around driving our children, and not as a way to deceive the au pair in any way.

R March 13, 2016 at 6:40 pm

Thank you for clarifying. As you say, I think monitoring is a great tool for checking in, proactively safeguarding you children. As long as HFs who chose to install car monitors inform the AP of this and explain why I see on problem in it.

Good luck!

Anonymous in CA March 11, 2016 at 9:08 pm

AlwaysHopeful HM – what kind of monitor do you use? Are these things easy (ish) to install?

AlwaysHopeful HM March 11, 2016 at 11:33 pm

Very simple. I use Mastrack, but I think they all work pretty much the same. It plugs in to the OBD (or something), and I pay a monthly fee for monitoring. My au pair and I get text alerts for items I select, and I have an app on my phone that I can use to check at any time, should I want to do so.

Seattle Mom March 14, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Is it expensive? I think we might be on our last AP, and I do think she’s a good driver (I’ve ridden with her in the car and she seems fine). But it’s possible we’ll hire someone to drive our kids in the future and if they use our car we might get this kind of monitor.

AlwaysHopeful HM March 14, 2016 at 8:08 pm

Hmm. I don’t recall how much it costs! I do know that the fee varies according to how closely you want to monitor, and the length of the monitoring contract.

I was uneasy about getting it at first, but now I love it. It’s also great for peace of mind when you drop off your car at the repair shop, or without a a parking valet.I didn’t investigate many different manufacturers because I was in a hurry when I got it. I’d probably shop around if I were starting over, because each one is a little different. With that said, this one suits my needs!

CanadianAuPair March 12, 2016 at 2:16 pm

IMHO he doesn’t sound like the greatest au pair besides the driving, I would talk to him about his driving and other things, and let him know that he is being monitored . I had an au pair friend here who found nanny cams everywhere and the host family refused to even really discuss it (language issue) and told her they were for carbon monoxide detecting….. HOWEVER I think that monitoring driving through a device like this is different, but you should let him know he’s being monitored, see if anything changes and go from there.

German Au-Pair March 12, 2016 at 2:30 pm

The thing where he brakes too hard is actually something that came to my attention just recently when I took a road trip with a friend. She usually brakes really hard and her steering is anything but smooth, too. Turns out the reason for this is the fact that her eyes are ON the street in front of her rather than looking far ahead. We noticed this when we were driving in the dark. I always turn on the high beam because that’s how far ahead I look when driving. She had absolutely NO clue how to even turn on the high beams (after 10 years of driving!!) because she simply doesn’t need it as she only looks as far as the headlights can reach anyway. This is why on windy, curvy roads, she brakes and steers much more abruptly than I do.
I’m not sure if it’s actually unsafer but it felt unsafe to me since she would see a potential danger much later than I would, especially in the dark.
If you decide to do driving coaching with him I’d actually ask him where is eyes usually rest during driving (like “that tree there”) so you can compare that to what you would do. If he is willing to adjust, maybe he can learn to change is driving behavior. Just like my friend, he might not even be aware of it.

WestMom March 12, 2016 at 5:22 pm

Funny note about the high beams. We had one AP who always used the high beams and left them on when she would turn off the car (that’s how we knew, bc I would turn them off when I used the car after her). I find it really rude to use the high beams when passing other cars (which is basically all the time in our densely populated area). I was wondering if that was perhaps a cultural difference, or based on where people are raised. Here in a somewhat urban setting, we never use high beams. On the odd times we do, we are likely on vacation in the middle of nowhere.

Seattle Mom March 14, 2016 at 3:09 pm

I always thought the rule was that you don’t use high beams when you are within sight of another car approaching, or in an area with street lights. My parents taught me that way (growing up in NYC and also spending a lot of time in the country) and I guess I thought it was law. I still consider that the way to go.

It’s not just rude, it’s dangerous! Those high beams are awfully bright and can temporarily blind people!

LuckyHM#3 March 14, 2016 at 4:08 pm

I always assumed that it was the law. Eons ago, when i learnt to drive, my instructor always told me that you never put your high beams unless you were in the country with no lights and no houses with lights and pretty much in the middle of the forest.
I find it really dangerous when an oncoming car has high beams on, i honestly cant see at all and am blinded, praying for him or her to pass before i drive into someone else

Mimi March 14, 2016 at 5:35 pm

It is a law but it varies from state to state. Penalties range from $35 to ~$200 depending on the offense and number of times you’ve been cited for it.

Jules March 15, 2016 at 2:51 pm

Wow, this high beam thing is off topic, but happened to us, too. We had to tell two Au Pairs from two different countries not to use high beams. In both cases the lights would be left on so they were probably driving all around town blinding everyone. I agree high beams should only be used on rural roads. In urban or suburban settings, if its dark you just need to drive slower to you have more time to react. We have added the “no high beams” rule to our handbook since it’s apparently a common mistake!

German Au-Pair March 15, 2016 at 6:50 pm

I think in Germany the law is that you cannot use them within city limits for the same reason. In the US I lived in an area that was pitch black at night so I used them alot. But I have used them a lot during my entire driving career (sometimes within city limits in especially dark, rural areas that are populated by a lot of small animals) so I am very used to always being aware of when other cars are in sight and turning them off and on as necessary. That’s not to say it never ever happens that I accidentally leave them on, of course. I also found Americans are less likely to use them and that has always made me incredibly nervous. My using the high beams has saved me from running over more than one animal -there’s no way I would have seen that black bear cub in the deepest, darkest National Park on my latest trip without my high beams.

LeftCoast Mama March 13, 2016 at 4:21 pm

As the OP, I greatly appreciate the range of responses to my question. Perhaps my original letter was not clear — our AP has been fully aware of the driving tracker in the car from the minute we installed it. We had not looked at the date until very recently, which is when our concern really began. We have shown him the data, loaded the program onto his phone, and walked him through the problem areas in the past week or so since I asked the question, and he continues to have significant numbers of alerts for speeding, hard stops and quick accelerations. His driving patterns have not changed even though he knows we are monitoring and knows we have concerns.

WarmStateMomma March 13, 2016 at 5:40 pm

That’s because he doesn’t care. The liability would scare me – especially since there is hard evidence that you know he is a risky driver.

Taking a Computer Lunch March 13, 2016 at 8:29 pm

I’m not sure caring is the issue. My guess is that he has not translated that the driving skills he acquired in his country (or while learning to drive) are inappropriate for driving safely in the US. However, having been confronted with the information, having had alerts put on his phone, and still being unwilling or unable to modify his driving, he has proven that he is not able to keep your children safe. With this information, I would say, initiate rematch. Be very clear to both him and the LCC that he was presented with the information, did not modify his driving behavior, and is therefore unable to keep your children safe in the car. That, coupled with his mediocre performance in doing the chores you require, is more than enough. And, he’s not make your kids happy! If they loved him enough to want him to stay, they might not have brought up the driving issue.

AlwaysHopeful HM March 13, 2016 at 10:19 pm


WarmStateMomma March 14, 2016 at 10:13 am

To clarify – I said he doesn’t care because the HPs expressed concern over his driving, showed him the data, and he didn’t change his habits. This is all I’d need to know about an AP’s respect for my family – even if he doesn’t believe/understand he’s putting the HF or others at risk.

Frankfurt AP Boy March 14, 2016 at 1:10 pm

I agree with everything youve said except the last bit. I have looked after kids that have took great pleasure in telling their parents when I do something wrong / different to what their parents do! Despite the fact that they love me. Not sure theres anything to suggest that the kids arent happy.

Mimi March 14, 2016 at 10:47 am

Knowing that he is ignoring this information and your concerns makes a difference. If you can take his keys away and give him a chance to improve on other things before reintroducing the privilege (after remedial driver training), then maybe this relationship can be salvaged. If you must have a driver, then I agree that his risky driving isn’t worth the other aggravation and poor performance issues.

TexasHM March 13, 2016 at 10:43 pm

You’ve done all you can, pull the plug quick before there’s an accident. If he, your kids, or anyone else get hurt you’ll never forgive yourself. Not to mention the liability, financial risk and car damage. I tell our au pairs that driving is the most dangerous thing they will do here (if I’ve screened properly ;) and that its one of very few grounds for straight to rematch. He’s been warned, shown data and still does it. Doesn’t matter anymore if it’s intentional or not, people are being endangered and he’s got to go.

Jennc March 14, 2016 at 9:51 am

This is easy Get rid of him and Highly suggest he not go to a family who needs a driver. First, my mother was killed in a car accident , and I cannot tell you the trauma it caused me, to be frank you do not want this to become the outcome. Second , he could kill someone else with speeding , erratic driving, and you will be liable because it’s your car , your insurance. Do you have an umbrella policy to protect your assets if something bad happened you were sued and lost ? Because if you don’t this driver is putting you at extremely high risk , and with the data you have recorded it would be easy to prove you have an unsafe driver and you knew about it. I can’t believe he is still driving your car , and driving your kids ? I really don’t mean judgement , but coming from a health care worker who has seen and sees the worst cases of trauma and death and personally experienced it , get rid of him and make sure he isn’t driving anyone else’s children . Good luck

WarmStateMomma March 14, 2016 at 10:17 am


Even if he isn’t driving HKs, he could still hit someone else’s kids.

Jules March 15, 2016 at 2:59 pm

@LeftCoast Mama – what device do you use that tells you he was driving 45 in a 25mph zone? That is great info to have since our device only tells us if the 65 mph threshold is broken.

NBHostMom March 16, 2016 at 8:08 am

@LeftCoastMama …. It sounds like you given him plenty of feedback and opportunity to improve already. There are excellent au pairs out there searching for a host family. Rematch isn’t fun, but it’s worth it! You and your children diserve an au pair who understands safety and personal accountability.

ITaupair March 16, 2016 at 8:56 am

This can be a cultural issue. Do you know that in some cultures speeding a lot is not considered unsafe? I know it can sound crazy but it`s true. I come from a EU country where if your not speeding over the limit you`re considered a bad driver even if you have kids in your car. After my au pair year I was driving with my parents and they both kept asking me why I was keeping the speed limits. I think that if you stay with him in the car and he is a normal driver than it could be the cultural issue I described before. If he is unsafe even when you are in the car with him, then can be that he is a bad driver. If it`s the cultural issue I described before from my experience it`s unlikely he will change his driving habits and he will think you`re exagerating. In any case good luck with him!

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