APCIA and IIHS announce public education effort to reduce teen fatalities

February 9, 2022

Parents of teenagers who are starting to drive can turn to a new resource for expert advice on safely navigating this milestone. The American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) are launching Navigate to Safety: Roadmaps for Parents of Teen Drivers, a series of downloadable guides on everything from choosing the right vehicle for your teen to understanding state laws and setting appropriate rules. The guides can be requested at iihs.org/teen-roadmaps.

“Driving carries extra risk for teenagers. Per mile driven, they are nearly 4 times as likely as drivers ages 20 and older to crash,” says David Harkey, president of IIHS. “Parents need clear information to help kids stay safe and develop good driving habits from the beginning. This program is designed to address the key risk factors and simplify some of the tough decisions parents face when it comes to their teen driver.”

“Insurers are proud to be at the leading edge of auto safety and resiliency in the 21st century. The Navigate to Safety program is a tool that can improve teen driver safety and make parents more prepared to support their teen drivers during their first years behind the wheel,” says Robert Passmore, vice president of auto and claims policy at APCIA.

“America’s insurers have long been at the front lines of historic safety advancements like seat belts and airbags; helping teens develop responsible habits from the moment they begin to drive is the key to creating a generation of safe drivers and safer roadways for all Americans.”

The three roadmaps each highlight a key part of parenting a teen driver: Choosing a Vehicle, Embracing Safety Tech and Laying Down the Law.

“Choosing a Vehicle” highlights key principles, including avoiding very small or old vehicles and vehicles with too much horsepower. Electronic stability control, which helps prevent loss-of-control crashes, is a must-have feature, and good crashworthiness ratings are also important. Specific recommended models at varying price points can be found in an annual list of used and new teen vehicles compiled by IIHS and Consumer Reports.

“Embracing Safety Tech” highlights driver assistance and teen monitoring features that may be unfamiliar to many of today’s parents, who didn’t grow up with them. Advanced driver assistance features, including automatic emergency braking, lane departure prevention and blind spot detection, are designed for all motorists, but may be particularly relevant to teens. That’s because young drivers are typically worse at recognizing hazards and controlling the vehicle, more prone to losing focus and less likely to lower their speed to compensate for slick roads or poor visibility. Other technologies can help parents set limits and keep an eye on teenagers even when they are driving alone.

Taken together, advanced crash avoidance features and teen-specific features have the potential to prevent or mitigate up to three-quarters of fatal crashes involving teen drivers, IIHS research shows. Understanding these benefits can help inform purchase decisions and help parents incorporate the features into driving lessons.

“Laying Down the Law” summarizes the extensive research on teen driving restrictions. It points parents to an IIHS webpage where they can familiarize themselves with the graduated licensing law in their state and explains the benefits of imposing additional rules. Limits on driving at night and with other teens can improve safety, as can requiring your child to delay licensure by a few months or years. Ensuring teens are always buckled up and are not distracted by electronic devices is also important. A customizable contract that parents and teens can sign is included with the guide.

Families who request the guides will be notified when the annual list of recommended vehicles for teens is updated or other teen driving resources become available from IIHS.

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