Hello, my name is Chip Fridrich. Let’s have a heart to heart about teen drivers and insurance. It’s a subject that consumers hate. They despise it, don’t understand it, and in many cases refuse to accept the facts about it. Speaking of facts, let me give you some statistics to ponder:
Thirty three percent of deaths among thirteen to nineteen-year olds occur in motor vehicle crashes
Sixteen year olds have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age
Fifty six percent of teens said they talk on the phone while driving
An average of nine teens ages sixteen and nineteen are killed every day in motor vehicle crashes
And finally, statistics show that sixteen and seventeen year-old driver death rates increase dramatically with each additional passenger that occupies their vehicle.
The genuine truth is this – teen drivers by nature are bad drivers. They are inexperienced, their reaction times are slow, they are not used to bad weather conditions, and they often lack the maturity to react favorably in pressure situations. This does not mean teens are bad people at all. There are just facts.
When you add in the ever rampant, ever increasing world of distracted driving – namely texting, social media use, and phone use – it is a recipe for disaster when it comes to automobile accidents.
As the statistics I just gave you show, teens have wrecks. And when they have wrecks, they are usually costlier as far as bodily injury and property damage are concerned. Rates are climbing and there’s no end in sight. Insurance companies are pointing to rising litigation costs, skyrocketing auto parts, and distracted teen drivers as being the main reason for the rate frenzy.
So, let’s talk about what YOU can do. What some ways that YOU can control YOUR costs as much as possible and emphasize to your teens that THEIR safety is your primary concern? How can you relay to them that driving an automobile is the most dangerous thing they do every day of their lives? My high school football coach used to tell our team that simple statement each August before the season started – I still remember it and it rings true. But we didn’t have smart phones back then. What would he think now? Here are some tips:
Number one – Make driver’s education non-negotiable in your home. Your teen must do it, or they don’t drive, plain and simple. You will save on your insurance premiums as well. Make them have some skin in the game and emphasize its importance. In many cases, a B average or better in school helps with their rate as well with a good student discount.
Number two – Draw up a contract regarding their use of smart phones while in their car. Have a face to face meeting. They sign the contract and so do you. Set specific rules about their device use. There are even apps that you can purchase that will monitor their cell phone activity and send you a report. And while you are at it, stop the distracted driving yourself. If you do it, they will follow your lead.
Number three – Make a steadfast rule to them that if they are EVER in a situation where they are in a car and the driver is drinking that you will pick them up – no ifs ands or buts about it. The same goes if they are ever under the influence of alcohol. They need to have the confidence that they will always be safe and that you will reward their honesty.
Number four – Carefully consider the type of car that you let your teen drive or that you or they purchase. The next time you pass by a school parking lot, look at the cars. There are a lot of brand-new model expensive cars. BMW’s. Mercedes. Range Rovers. The list goes on. There are plenty of used cars that have the proper safety devices on them and cost way less. Simply put and to be blunt, don’t complain about the car insurance premium if your 16-year-old is driving a new sixty-thousand-dollar car. The safer and less expensive the car, the less the insurance premium is going to be.
And finally, number five – always emphasize safety and awareness. Compliment them when you see them driving safely. Take a drive with them on occasion to see how they are doing. Help them understand that yes, my football coach was right – driving is dangerous. You don’t want them so scared that it will have the opposite effect on them but they always must be aware of themselves and others.
To teens, driving means freedom. It’s a whole new world of excitement and independence. By working as a family, you can help ease this monumental transition in life and make it one that is memorable and safe as well.
If you have teen drivers or soon to be teen drivers and would like to discuss any of this information further, don’t hesitate to call our Agency for a consultation. We are here to help,consult, and advise.
To learn more about our Agency, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find us on the web at fpa.insure.