No discussion of road risks would be complete as we head into the holiday and winter tourist season without talking about teen drivers.
Traffic deaths are the leading cause of accidental death among teens. Your child is more likely to be killed in a traffic accident than by any other means. Each year, 2,500 teenagers are killed and about 300,000 are treated in hospital emergency rooms following a motor-vehicle collision, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The start of the school year and the start of the new year are the most popular times for teenagers to get their driver’s license and hit the road.
Teen Drivers in SWFL: Choosing a Vehicle and Auto Insurance
Choosing an appropriate vehicle for a teen can reduce both the risk of injury and the chances of a teen causing a traffic collision.
This autumn, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released recommendations for parents shopping for their teenager’s first car. Among the best pieces of advice: An older, larger vehicle is probably better and safer than a newer, smaller vehicle of the same price. This year’s list of recommended vehicles for teens includes 53 Best Choices, which start under $20,000, and 62 Good Choices, which start under $10,000. All the models on both lists are midsize cars or larger.
“Teen drivers are at greater risk, due to immaturity and inexperience behind the wheel,” said Jessica Cicchino, IIHS vice president for research.
It’s a sobering conclusion that essentially means parents should plan for a collision by insisting a teen be better protected by a larger vehicle. However, size does not always equate to safety as the IIHS and crash-test data often prove.
Parents should always check with their automobile insurer before purchasing a vehicle or even allowing a teenage driver behind the wheel.
Florida has among the nation’s lowest minimum insurance requirements: Just $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection and $10,000 in Property Damage Coverage. Allowing your teenager to take the wheel with anything like the state’s minimum required insurance could be financially ruinous — regardless of whether your teen is responsible for a collision. Any adequate insurance policy should have substantially higher coverage limits (if you don’t think you could purchase a new vehicle or be treated in the hospital for your policy limits, then they are too low), as well as underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage will protect your teenager in the event of a collision where an at fault driver (even if your teenager was a passenger) lacks sufficient insurance coverage.
Our Fort Myers injury lawyers would note parents should not allow a teenager to drive a vehicle that is too large, or too powerful, including sports cars. In many cases, checking with your insurance company will help you avoid buying too much vehicle for your teenager. Insurance costs are often double or even triple for a young, new driver, even when insuring a sensible vehicle. The premiums are reflective of the risks and should be another reminder to parents that safe-driving must be an ever-present focus when it comes to a teenager earning and maintaining driving privileges.
If you or a loved one is injured, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.