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When you consider insurance rates for young male drivers and gasp, it is important that you understand the reasoning behind the rates. Statistics indicate that young drivers are responsible for a disproportionately large number of motor vehicle death and accidents in the United States.
Insurance companies have to earn profits in order to stay in business. The premiums they charge pay for not only the results of accidents but also the need for the insurance companies to maintain a reserve to pay for future losses as well as the costs of doing business.
Therefore, they attempt to choose individuals to insure that are less likely to have accidents. They also charge higher rates for those more likely to present losses.
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The Problems with Teen Drivers
The Centers for Disease Control collect statistics with regard to the health of the nation. In 2011, they reported that 2,650 teens aged 16 to 19 were killed. Furthermore, about 292,000 teens were treated by hospitals for injuries suffered in car accidents.
Even though people aged 16 to 24 represent 14% of the population, males aged 16-24 were responsible for 30% of the costs of motor vehicle injuries, whereas females aged 16-24 were responsible for 28% of the costs of injuries from motor vehicles.
If you are the parent or care for a young driver, these are sobering statistics.
Which young drivers are most at risk?
Teen drivers age 16 to 19 are three times more likely to be involved in fatal accidents than those 20 and above. Of those, the highest risks are:
- Male drivers 16 to 19 are two times more likely to die in motor vehicle accidents than females of the same age.
- Teens driving with teen passengers have an increased risk of fatal accidents. It seems that the more passengers in the car, the more likely the possibility of a crash.
- Teens with new licenses – crash risk is high during the first months a teen has a new license.
Why are teen drivers more at risk?
- Teens are more likely to underestimate dangerous situations and recognize hazards.
- Speeding and following too closely occur more often with teens, and the presence of young male passengers increases the possibility of this behavior.
- Among male drivers aged 15-20 years old in 2012, 37% were speeding at the time of the accident and 25% were drinking.
- In 2012, teen seat belt use was reported by 55% of high school students.
- Surveys in 2013 indicated that 22% of the teens responding had ridden with a driver who had been drinking alcohol, and 10% of them had driven after drinking alcohol.
- In 2012, 49% of teen deaths from automobile crashes occurred between 3 p.m. and midnight — and 53% occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
The statistics provided come from the Centers for Disease Control. They come from their statistical database.
How can deaths and injuries from crashes involving young drivers be prevented?
Many of the laws needed to protect young people as they drive have already been enacted, but they need to be enforced by both law enforcement and parents or guardians. These precautions are:
- Seat belt laws – teens aged 13-19 who died in passenger vehicles in 2012, about 55% were not wearing seat belts.
- Drinking and driving laws – enforcing minimum legal age drinking laws and zero blood-alcohol tolerance can save lives.
- Graduated driving license laws – common in most states with variations – take into consideration the inexperience of new drivers, allowing them to gain experience gradually. These programs are associated with reductions of 38% in fatalities and 40% in injuries of young drivers, particularly 16-year-olds.
Eventually the enactment and enforcement of the laws designed to protect young drivers will affect the statistics, allowing insurance rates to reflect the improvement in statistics.
Graduated Drivers License Systems
All states have enacted three-stage Graduated Drivers License Systems, even though the restrictions vary by:
- Minimum age for unsupervised driving
- Night restriction start times
- Restrictions on passengers
You can refer to either your state’s motor vehicle department or The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for information about your state’s requirements for the Graduated Drivers License System.
Parent and Guardian Impact
Young drivers who have successfully completed progress through the Graduated Drivers License System may earn more favorable insurance premiums as well as underwriting considerations.
Danger Zones for Teens and Young Drivers
Knowing the hazards that exist for them can help young drivers estimate their danger more carefully, even though sometimes it seems as though young people consider themselves immune to danger.
Personally make sure the young drivers in your household are aware of these factors.
Set an example, too, by following laws as a driver yourself. Danger zones are:
- Driver inexperience – most crashes happen within the first year of a new drivers license. Practice with your teen by having them drive you on errands and short trips.
- Driving with teen passengers – It is riskier for teens to drive with other teen passengers. The graduated drivers license restricts this.
- Nighttime driving – Nighttime driving is riskier for anyone, but especially teens. Be sure your teen is off the road by 9 or 10 p.m.
- Seat belts – Seat belts increase safety factors for teens and adults alike. Demonstrate by using your seat belt and insisting that others wear them.
- Distracted driving – The use of cell phones, texting, adjusting radio and stereo controls, as well as other settings in your car can lead to accidents. Encourage teens to pull over if they must text.
- Driving while drowsy – Americans, including teens, skimp on sleep leading to driving while drowsy and accidents occur.
- Reckless driving, including speeding and tailgating. Teens are likely to misjudge speed and the distance it takes to stop.
Parent-Teen Driving Agreement
Work with each young driver to incorporate a driving agreement between you as parent or guardian and the young driver.
As you are well aware, youngsters vary in temperament and risk-taking, so make the agreement fit the person.
A suggested agreement is available from the NAIC.
Saving Money on Car Insurance for Young Drivers
With all this statistical information, you are probably daunted about obtaining relatively cheap insurance to cover your young driver. Try the following ways of saving money on car insurance:
- Obtain at least three quotes from separate insurance companies
- Adjust deductibles and limits of liability to reduce premiums, but recognize that you are accepting the possibility of larger losses than the premium might cost
- Purchase safe, durable vehicles for the use of young drivers and avoid ones difficult to repair. This information can be obtained from Consumer Reports if you have a membership.
- Be sure the insurance company is aware of defensive driving courses, good student discounts, and parent-teen driving agreements
- Purchase car insurance for the whole family on one policy
- Purchase car insurance and home insurance with the same company
When evaluating quotations, check the coverage and premiums to make certain that the coverage is the same for all quotations. Examine the insurance company’s financial information and claims history to make sure of the soundness of the company.
Insurance for young drivers is not inexpensive, but you can not only reduce the premiums but also actively protect your young drivers by helping them build good driving habits as the proceed into adulthood.
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