By: Allison Branchaud Hainlen, Esq.
Owner of Gardner Insurance Agency and Parent
Since Gardner Insurance Agency has been serving this community since 1958, our customers are like family to us. So when we learn that you are adding a teen driver to your auto insurance policy, we go into “parent mode”: Are they buckling up? Are they texting while they drive? Who is in the car with them? Are they turning on their signals before turning? How can we best help our customer during this time?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2,641 teen drivers and passengers were killed in fatal collisions in 2013 and 177,000 teenagers were injured in automobile accidents. In fact, accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
All you need to do is ride with a teen driver to know that inexperience is the root of these statistics. Parents need to spend time with their young drivers to educate them about the dangers – and responsibilities – of being behind the wheel. Here are some tips to talking to your teen about driving:
- Buckle Up: Remind your teen to always wear their seat belt, whether they're a driver or a passenger. According to the 2013 NHTSA study, 50% of fatal teen accidents revealed that the teens were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the accident. A simple “click” can save a life!
- What's the Rush? Speed kills! NHTSA found that speeding was the main cause of 39% of all fatal teen driver accidents. Driving too fast for road and weather conditions decreases reaction time while increasing stopping distance and collision risk. No destination is worth a life.
- Focus: Distractions are everywhere! Anything that takes your teen's eyes off the road or hands off the wheel is considered “distracted driving”. Texting, posting on social media, eating, talking to passengers, snapchatting or tending to a pet in the car are all activities that draw attention away from the road and the responsibility of driving. Make sure your teen knows the risks and consequences of distracted driving.