With back to school season under way, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance is reminding consumers that this time of year is especially dangerous for teen drivers. Research from the AAA Foundation indicates that the number of crash fatalities involving teen drivers rises significantly between Memorial Day (May 27, 2019) and Labor Day (September 2, 2019). Because of the higher period of fatalities, this 100 day period has been deemed the “100 Deadliest Days.”
TDCI’s Division of Insurance is urging parents to take extra precautions between Memorial Day and Labor Day by stressing the importance of safe driving habits, driver training, and obeying traffic safety laws to their teens.
In an effort to reduce the number of accidents involving teen drivers, TDCI advises:
*Limit the number of passengers allowed in a teen’s car.
*Make distracted driving zero tolerance.
*Set a curfew for driving. In 2016, 36 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities involving a teen driver occurred between 9:00 PM and 5:00 AM.
*Stress the importance of seat belts and lead by example.
*Encourage teens to speak up if they are a passenger in a car where the driver is practicing unsafe driving behaviors.
*Teach by example. Practice safe driving behaviors when behind the wheel.
KNOW THE FACTS WHEN INSURING A TEEN DRIVER
*As long as a teen lives with parents (or a legal guardian) and doesn’t own the vehicle, the teen can stay on the parents’ policy.
*Raising insurance deductibles and allowing the teen to drive the oldest vehicle can help lower insurance costs.
*SUVs, convertibles, and sports cars often come with higher insurance premiums. Be mindful of this when looking for a car for a teen.
*Encourage teens to maintain good grades. Several insurance companies offer discounts to students with high grade point averages.
*Regularly review your policies. Multiple things can affect your premium – like a teen graduating high school or reaching the age of 18.
*Even with education and preparation, accidents still happen. In the event of an accident, be sure your teen knows the steps to take after an accident such as filing a police report and contacting your insurance company as soon as possible.
IF YOU’RE BUYING A CAR
*Before going to a dealer, decide what you can afford. Don’t forget to factor in insurance, gas, and maintenance costs.
*Check your car dealer’s license at verify.tn.gov. All Tennessee auto dealers must be licensed by the Motor Vehicle Commission. Licensed dealers are required to disclose that they are a dealer in all forms of advertising, including social media, by including either their business name or license number.
*When purchasing a used car, have an independent mechanic check the car. Do not buy a car if the dealer will not let you have it inspected. Many safety defects will not be identified during a standard inspection so you should also check for recalls.
*Ensure you have copies of all paperwork. Don’t leave without copies of everything you signed.