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Cost aside, it’s not a good idea for newly licensed drivers to immediately have their own cars. For one thing, you may be sending your teen a message that having a car and driving immediately is a right he or she is entitled to, rather than a privilege earned with responsible behavior and experience.
It’s a safer and wiser plan to require your teen to establish a safe driving record before allowing free access to the roadways. All new drivers are at the highest risk of getting into a crash during the first six months after receiving their license.
And don’t be in a rush to give your teen the privilege of independent driving in all conditions and situations right away — and not in his or her own vehicle. Though many adults look forward to their teens being able to help with driving responsibilities, it’s worth waiting a few months more to keep your teen and your car safe.
• In their first year on the road, teens are almost 10 times more likely to be in a crash.
• 20 percent of 11th-graders report being in a crash as a driver in the past year.
• 25 percent of ninth-graders report being in a crash as a passenger in their lifetimes.
• Crash risk increases incrementally with each mile per hour over the speed limit.
• 16-year-old drivers with multiple teen passengers are twice as likely to be in a crash as alcohol-impaired drivers.
• Crashes are more common among young drivers than any other age group. In the United States, one in four crash fatalities involves someone 16-24 years old, nearly twice as high as other age groups.
What car is best?
• Avoid cars that have a sporty, performance-type image. These vehicles can encourage young drivers to speed and test their performance.
• SUVs and pickup trucks are also not the best choices for teenagers. While they may seem a safe choice because of their size and weight, they’re actually more likely to roll over in a crash. A teen driver’s high crash rate and an SUV’s high rollover rate can be a deadly combination.
• Later-model mid- and full-size passenger cars are good choices since they offer sufficient weight, as well as updated safety features. Small cars offer less crash protection because of their size and weight.
• Look for a car that has other air bags in addition to the standard driver and passenger airbags: Side and curtain air bags add an extra measure of crash protection.
• Other safety features that might benefit your teen are Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), as well as intelligent seat belt reminder systems that remind drivers all occupants should wear seat belts.
When you find a car that seems like a good choice, be sure to check safety ratings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (nhtsa.gov) or the Steer Clear® (iihs.org) driver discount program.
For more information about teen driver safety and tools for new drivers, visit State Farm® Teen Driver Safety website at teendriving.statefarm.com.
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The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.