One of the most exciting times in a teenagers life is getting the driver's license when you turn 16. What that little piece of plastic represents is freedom. For the first time in your life you will be able to actually drive on your own and go visit friends, go to the mall or the movies and not have to wait for a ride to get there. It is actually a big relief for the parents as well as your days of being a taxi driver are almost gone.Below are some driving tips that may be helpful in keeping your child safe and accident free.
My two boys were always in some kind of year round activity so it seemed like my wife or I were constantly driving or picking our boys up from some practice or event. With them finally being able to drive on their own, it presented both relief and fear of the unknown with them being on the road without our supervision. Because of knowing some insurance statistics, my wife and I made it mandatory for our kids to drive by themselves for 6 months before they could have other passengers in the car. This way they were able to concentrate on the road without their peers distracting them to become more familiar with the roads before other distractions come into play. We also did the same for any of their friends who became newly licensed by not letting our kids ride in the car with them until they had more experience behind the wheel.
Another decision that we made was not letting them drive to unfamiliar locations or far distances until they had at least a year driving experience. If you live in FL you probably know that your newly licensed teen will want to drive to the beach with friends as soon as you let them. From our home, the beach is about 70 minutes away so that is a long time for a new driver to focus on the road by themselves much less without other driver distractions that you know will take place.
Driving at night is a different environment when you are learning how to drive. Things may seem like they come at you faster than during the daylight. We limited driving at night to shorter distances until our kids had better driving experience.
Ways to Discount Teen Auto Insurance
It is definitely a great time in a teenager's life when they get their driver's license but quite the opposite for the parents when it comes to paying for the auto insurance. There are some tips in getting the car insurance rates lower but it will take some proper planning before you get to that point of adding the teen on your auto insurance policy. Below are some money saving tips in helping you out with these premiums.
- Drivers Training-This credit will typically reduce the rate for the auto insurance about 5-10% for the vehicle that the child is rated on. Some schools no longer offer this discount as a school credit however, there are outside driver's training courses that can be taken if this is the case.
- Good Student Discount-If your teenager has at least a 3.0 grade point average then the auto insurance premiums will be reduced about 10-15% on average. Some carriers will base this off the last report card or the cumulative over all grade point average.
- liability only vehicles- If your teen drivers a vehicle without full coverage or comprehensive and collision coverage the rates will be substantially less in cost then with full coverage. The reason being is auto insurance carriers rate comp and collision premium with a surcharge due to the inexperience of the teen driver. Having a vehicle without these coverage's will reduce your premium substantially.
When it comes to finding the right auto insurance in Clermont, let the professionals at Southern insurance Group quote you with the various discounts to maximize your discounts.
Teen Driving Statistics
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles the percentage of fatalities increase substantially if you let your teen drive with other kids in the vehicle. Below are the actual increased statistics on adding additional drivers and the changes of a fatality occurring.
- 16% with the teen driving by themselves
- 47% with just one additional driver.
- 89% with 2 additional drivers
- 128% with 3 additional drivers
- 214% with 4 or more additional drivers.
So as you can see above, this is the main reason why my wife and I did not let out children ride with other drivers until they have at least 6 months driving history. In additional, if a group of their friends want to go to some place, we always limit the number of people in the vehicle with them to improve the above statistics. No matter how high the gas prices may get, we don't care as we would rather have our kids drive by themselves them be in a car with a bunch of their friends.
Teen Driving Habits
You may be familiar with this statistic but if not the leading cause of teenager death in the United States is by motor vehicle accident. There are over 6500 teens that pass away each year and another 325,000 are injured across the US each year. There are quite a few reasons for these daunting statistics but the most common are driving distractions, speeding, inexperience and not wearing a seat belt. Regarding seat belts, this teen age group has the lowest percentage of drivers who are properly wearing their seat belts.
What about cell phone and texting usage while driving? Unfortunately, these cell phone devices attribute to greatly increased percentages of car accidents. Just the other day, I heard that 4 teens died in a car accident here in Clermont by hitting a semi truck head on after swerving from the their lane before striking the truck. It was later determined that the teen ran off the shoulder and upon getting back on lost control entering into the oncoming traffic. What caused the teen driver to go off the road, I think we will never know but something distracted the driver long enough to go off the shoulder.
I'm sure as these statistics in fatalities increase from texting and cell phone usage, more and more laws will come into play to restrict these devices from being used while driving. I believe if fatalities are involved in an accident, part of the investigation is determining if the cell phone or texting usage was taking place at the time of the accident. If this is the case prosecuting attorneys are pushing for jail time for the offense. Driver Education
Florida is one of many states that have enacted Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws.
Graduated driver licensing is designed to introduce teenage drivers to driving in stages, over an extended period of time, in an environment that minimizes risk. A teen typically progresses through a permit phase, where he or she practices with supervision, to a provisional or probationary phase, which allows for independent driving with restrictions. Following successful completion of this phase, a teen is granted full driving privileges. The key here to educating the young driver is practice. As parents or guardians of the new teen driver, we should spend as much time as possible helping the newly licensed driver to practice their new skills behind the wheel.
Drivers holding a GDL license have the following restrictions placed upon them:
- May not drive between midnight and 5:00am
- May not have more than one passenger in the car who is under 21 and not an immediate family member
- May not use a cell phone (including hands free), or any other hand held electronic device
- Driver and ALL passengers must wear seat belts
Once the new driver has completed at least 6 months of driving, and is at least 16 years old, they can apply and receive a standard Florida driver’s license with no restrictions.
Florida Fraud Laws and Auto Insurance
Insurance statistics show that since the youthful driver is significantly more likely to have an accident than a typical adult driver, so there will be a higher premium charged when the youthful driver is added to the parents policy.
There is a temptation then to “forget” to add the new driver to the auto policy or not list the new driver on your renewal questionnaire in order to save money even though the child is driving Mom or Dad’s car. We caution you against this practice. The State of Florida has certain fraud laws in this area that will allow an insurance company to deny a claim in the event the driver is an undisclosed household operator. In addition, the Attorney General has the ability to fine the policy holder in the range of thousands of dollars.
Insurance-Friendly Cars For Teens
When you are looking for the right insurance-friendly car for your teen, but you aren't sure what kind of vehicle to buy, give us a call and we can help you understand the cars that will cost the least for your teen. The gas guzzlers are big strikes right off the bat. Stay away from the fast high performance vehicles like Camero, Charger SRT-8, Challenger, Corvette, Mustang GT to name a few. You know you are always safe by buying a 4 or 6 cylinder vehicle as these are not considered high performance.
Insurance companies surcharge youthful operators in three areas:
- Comprehensive (theft)
- Collision (damage caused to the vehicle in an accident
If you choose a vehicle that may be older, and does not require comprehensive or collision (a lower value vehicle) the premium will be considerably less than a newer one which will require full coverage.
Because we represent many different companies, your Southern Insurance Group agent can help you make the right decision when buying that first car for your teenager.