So, your teenage son or daughter wants to drive! Suddenly, driving has become one of the most important things in your child’s life. Scary isn’t it?
Naturally, you may dread the increase in your auto insurance premiums. However, there is a lot more at stake than higher premiums. As parents, we all share the fear of our children becoming involved in an automobile accident.
Addressing teen driver safety in October is especially important because the number of 16-and 17- year-old driver claims* involving injury or collision is expected to spike nearly 20 percent in October as compared to other months. According to State Farm’s extensive claims database, October has averaged the highest number of teen vehicle crashes from 2003 to 2007. For this reason and the following alarming statistics State Farm has helped designate the third week in October of each year as National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW).
· Car crashes kill about 6,000 teens nationwide each year, with Texas accounting for some 500 of that total.
· Cars driven by teens kill over 800 people per year in Texas.
· One in three teen drivers has an accident within the first year of getting their license.
· 62% of teenage passenger deaths occurred in motor vehicle crashes in which another teenager was driving.
Clearly, the numbers show teens are high risk drivers, lets look at how to reduce these accidents. Researchers say the crashes are caused primarily by inexperience combined with one or more of five risk factors, in this order of frequency:
1. Driving at night
2. Distractions (cell phones/texting and other teen passengers, etc.)
4. Low seat belt use
(Source: Teens in the Driver Seat, a Texas Transportation Institute Program)
As statistics show, there’s no doubt your age has a lot to do with your chance of being in an accident. That’s why insurance companies charge more money to insure younger drivers. They know teens have a much greater likelihood of being in an accident. Auto insurance is designed to protect our financial well-being. Without it, most of us couldn’t afford to drive. Replacing a damaged car and paying an injured person’s medical bills can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Most insurance companies will raise your rates—or even cancel your insurance—if you have too many accidents or traffic violations. We’d all like to pay less for auto insurance. Here are a couple of ways that your child can help.
1. Many insurance companies offer lower rates to young, single drivers who are better-than- average students in high school or college. They do that because statistics show good students have considerably fewer accidents than students whose grades are average or below average.
2. Obey all traffic laws. You can’t always avoid an accident, but you can avoid traffic tickets, which can cause your insurance premiums to go up.
3. Look into insurance discount programs, such as State Farm’s Steer Clear Safe Driver Discount. Steer Clear is a program that helps young people develop safe driving habits and understand the responsibilities that go along with their right to drive and makes insurance more affordable for those who develop that understanding.
Although premiums are derived from the monetary cost of auto accidents, lives are priceless. No amount of premium can ever bring back a life or reverse disabilities. To ensure parents are equipped with the right tips and tools as they become driving instructors to their teens, State Farm has created a teen driver safety web site, statefarm.com/teendriving and a cause page on Facebook® where parents can learn ways to help their teens navigate the road and share safe driving tips with other parents. For more information on teen driver discount programs, please feel free to contact me, Michael Thomas, at 325-372-5733.