According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for American teenagers, with over 5,000 teens (ages 16-20) killed each year. Research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) revealed that teens killed in motor vehicles are often driving small vehicles that offer minimal protection in a crash and/or older vehicles, which lack critical safety features.
IIHS is an independent, nonprofit organization that researches how to reduce fatalities and minimize injuries and property damage in motor vehicle crashes. IIHS, best known for its annual list of “Top Safety Picks,” exclusively reviews new vehicles, but recently released recommendations to help parents purchase safe, affordable ($4,600 to $19,900) used cars for their teens. IIHS used crash safety ratings, standard or available safety features, and pricing data from Kelley Blue Book to create the list of recommended vehicles.
The list was prompted by an IIHS survey of parents of teen drivers, which indicated that 83% of the parents purchasing cars for their teens were buying used vehicles, with half of those vehicles from 2006 or earlier. Teens who shared a vehicle with their parents were even more likely to drive an older vehicle, with two-thirds of those vehicles from the model year 2006 or earlier. Safety features, such as side airbags and electronic stability control (ESC), are typically absent from older model vehicles.
Parents purchasing vehicles for teen drivers were also most likely to purchase a small or subcompact car for their teen driver, which offers little protection in an accident. 29% of the teenagers in fatal accidents from 2008 to 2012 were killed in small cars. For these reasons, IIHS did not include any small or subcompact cars on its list of recommended vehicles.
For parents who choose to buy a car that is not on the list, IIHS advised parents to buy a vehicle (1) that is larger and heavier, such as an SUV or midsize car; (2) has the best possible safety rating; (3) features electronic stability control, which helps the driver stay in control on slick roadways and when going around curves, and can prevent rollover crashes; and (4) does not have high horsepower, which may encourage teens to speed.
Click here to read the IIHS list of recommended vehicles for teen drivers. Romanow Law Group handles all types of personal injury claims. If you or your teenager have been injured in an accident with a car, truck, or motorcycle, please call us today at (412) 642-9148 to schedule a free consultation or click here to request an evaluation of your claim.