Media Name: teen-driver_new-car.jpg

Tips to Keep Teen Drivers Safe & Insurance Costs Down

Handing the keys to an auto to a young driver can be a scary experience for any parent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16- to 19-year-olds are nearly three times more likely to crash than older drivers!

There is some good news though. According to the most recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 have been driving more safely recently. Over the past two decades, fatal crashes involving a young driver fell 38%, while they increased nearly 8% for drivers 21 and older. Still, risks remain.

“Young drivers are the riskiest age group on the road, and the reasons are straightforward – immaturity and inexperience,” said GHSA Senior Director of External Engagement Pam Shadel Fischer, the report’s author and a national teen driver safety expert. “The brain isn’t fully developed until the early to mid-twenties, particularly the prefrontal cortex, which controls risk assessment and decision-making. Many young drivers simply don’t have the behind-the-wheel experience to recognize risk and take the appropriate corrective action to prevent a crash.”

The report, Young Drivers and Traffic Fatalities: 20 Years of Progress on the Road to Zero, includes an analysis of data for 2002-2021, identifies the policies and programs responsible for the gains in teen driver safety and makes recommendations for building on that success.

You play a vital role in keeping your teens safe while on the road and ensuring they have the right protection in case of an accident.

10 Suggestions for Parents of Teen Drivers:

  1. Enroll your child in a driver education course taught by a professional.
  2. Require your child to drive with a learner’s permit for a full year, even if your state only requires this for six months.
  3. Have your child practice driving under various conditions such as at night, during bad weather and in heavy traffic.
  4. Restrict the number of passengers allowed in the car with your teen driver. The more passengers, the greater the risk.
  5. Do not allow your child to drive with new, teen drivers until they have had permits for at least one year.
  6. Do not give your child his/her “own” car. Allow them to drive a “family vehicle” that is everyone’s to use. This will divert them from treating it more haphazardly.
  7. Set firm rules about driving privileges and stick with them. Relax the rules as your child becomes a better driver and maintains a clean driving record. Create a driving contract between you and your child to help enforce the rules.
  8. Restrict your teen’s nighttime driving.
  9. Ride with your son or daughter occasionally to make sure they are keeping up with the safety habits they learned in driver’s education.
  10. Set a good example in your own driving by abiding traffic laws, not talking on a cell phone while driving and not carrying on in-depth conversations while on the road with your teen in the car. Always wear your seatbelt.

Please download our Teen Driver Toolkit here, including a teen driving agreement you can sign with your young driver.

It is equally important to prepare your teen for the possibility of an accident or roadside issue. Ensure they know how to change a tire, who to call if they need roadside assistance, and what to do if they are in an accident. 

Tips to Keep Your Costs Down
If you’re the parent of a teenager who is getting ready to climb behind the steering wheel, insuring your new driver can be an expensive endeavor because the risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher. We’ve gathered some helpful tips to help you keep your premiums as low as possible and keep your teen safe.

Deductible Considerations
Auto deductibles typically range from $250 to $1,000. By upping your deductible and using your insurance for big repairs, you can significantly reduce your premium.

Weigh Your Buying Decision
Wanting to give your teenager a new car to drive with the latest safety equipment is understandable, but you may be better off purchasing a safe, used vehicle to better manage your premium costs. 

Don't Trade Low Liability for Lower Premiums
Do not lower your liability coverage drastically to combat rate increases. It simply does not make sense to carry less liability for a high-risk driver, like teens. Plus, you will be forced to cover damages out-of-pocket if your child gets into an accident without enough coverage. 

In addition to an automobile insurance policy, you may wat to consider purchasing a Personal Liability Umbrella Policy. This policy will protect you against litigation if your teen accidentally injures someone or damages property. Even though your auto policy has substantial limits, it is common for juries to award damages that far exceed these limits. 

As soon as your teen is ready for their learner’s permit, we’re here to help. Call your local Marshall+Sterling office to learn more about our automobile insurance and personal risk management solutions.