The age of sweet 16 seems so young when we as parents look back, but it’s an age many young people look forward to reaching. If it’s approaching that time in your child’s life (or your own life) where it’s time to start thinking about college, increased independence, and leaving the proverbial nest in the next few years, a driver’s license and insurance may also be high on your list of considerations.
Driving time is not only a time where parents look upon their children and think, “wow, they’re growing up so fast.” For many parents and teens, it’s a time of weighing costs and benefits, comparing insurance quotes, and searching for the safest and most economical vehicle possible. Teens are the “riskiest drivers on the road,” reads the introduction of a new study by InsuranceQuotes.com.
As young and inexperienced drivers, crash rates for teens are significantly higher than for older drivers. How much higher? For teens, these rates are three times more than they are for adults ages 20 and over. Car crashes account for one-third of deaths of teens ages 16 to 19, rendering auto accidents the leading cause of deaths for teens.
To learn more about the Insurance Quotes study on teen drivers, we spoke with Laura Adams, InsuranceQuotes.com’s senior analyst. The study explains how 30 years ago, 80 percent of teens ages 17 to 19 had a driver’s license. Today, this number has drastically decreased to only 60 percent of teens who hold a license.
Why? “Whether this is a result of urbanization, they’re taking public transportation more, or, it’s the economic factors, [for instance], the unemployment rate for teens is huge (roughly 19 percent versus around 6 percent for the rest of us), [maybe] they just can’t afford the cost of a car or to help mom and dad with the cost of insurance … those factors could be in play,” says Adams. She also explains how even the Internet and social media may be contributing factors. More and more, teens are interacting with one another online, working online, and completing schoolwork online. These teens may not see as much of a need to obtain a license and drive around to various destinations, as they have social interaction from a home PC, phone, or tablet — interaction that previous generations were unable to have without driving.
In addition to providing data and statistics on teen driver safety, the Insurance Quotes study also tells us the rate increase we are subject to when we add a teen driver in each of the 50 states, and nationwide. The overall nationwide increase for adding a teen driver decreased since last year. “This is the second year that we’ve done this study … I thought it was very interesting that this year, there was actually a lower percent increase for adding a teen than last year. We were at about 84 to 85 percent last year, this year we’re at 79 percent. We don’t know if that trend will continue, we’re certainly going to watch it,” she says. You can check out the most expensive states for adding a teen driver, and tips on how to save money on the following pages.