Got a teen driver in the house? Good luck! Consider the following points as you prepare your child for the responsibilities of driving to and from school each day, particularly with passengers aboard:
Tip #1 – Your teen may not be ready for the school carpool
Aside from a smartphone, passengers in the car can be one of the greatest sources of distraction for your teen driver. According to a study published by The Journal of the American Medical Association, 16- and 17-year-old drivers are at a significantly higher risk of fatal crashes when carrying at least one passenger, a statistic reiterated by several state legislatures choosing to implement graduated licensing schemes. In many states, young drivers are not permitted any passengers for a certain time period, or they may be allowed one or two riders with appropriate adult supervision.
Tip #2 – Understand the risk of teenage driving
We know you have enough to worry about, and you may be celebrating the newfound freedom both you and your teen are experiencing now that your chauffeuring responsibilities have lessened. However, the risks of accident and injury for teen drivers are real, and parents are cautioned against giving unbridled driving privileges to their teen too soon.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the fatal crash rate for 16- and 17-year-old drivers is twice that of 18- and 19-year-old drivers and three times that of drivers 20 and older.
Tip #3 – Your liability exposure increases
As you are likely aware, teenagers cannot enter into any sort of contract or legally binding agreement until they reach age 18. Therefore, any insurance policies or car loans will require parental co-signatures, which expose that parent to responsibility in the event of an issue.
In some states, parents can face liability for injuries caused by their teenage driver if that parent had reason to know the child could be a hazard on the roadway. Regardless, placing your child on your auto insurance policy will not only raise your rates, but could also result in a claim against the policy if your child is involved in a crash. Co-signing with your teenager for a car loan could also wreak havoc on your credit if your child misses a payment or defaults on the note.
Tip #4 – The school can’t really help you
One new driver’s license plus one set of wheels and an 8-hour school day can quickly equate to the temptation to cut class. In case this sounds familiar, understand that once your teen driver leaves the parking lot, the school is generally under no duty to protect your child from harm and danger, as it would be while your teen sits in history class.