Graduation Time: Keep Your Teen Driver Safe this Summer

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Summer will be here before too long, and with it comes graduation
parties, road trips, and outdoor activities. This once was the time of
year that, as teenagers and young adults, we looked forward to the most,
when the beckoning call of the open road was synonymous with freedom and
fun.

Now, if you’re like many parents, your teen is either beginning to drive
or has just started driving in the last year or two. The ‘roar of the
engines’ that was music to our ears years ago has transformed into the
steady drone of worry and concern. In order to balance our protective
concerns with the reality of youth, the Property Casualty Insurers
Association of America (PCI) is encouraging parents to talk to their
teen drivers about safe driving habits before the summer begins.

“As a parent of teenagers myself, it’s always a little worrisome every
time they get in the car and drive off. Like many parents, I hope my
kids are practicing good driving habits,” said Bob Passmore, PCI’s
assistant vice president of personal lines policy. According to the
National Safety Council, car crashes are the number one killer of teens,
with more than half of the teens killed in car crashes found not to have
been wearing a seatbelt.

“Sound safety practices are our number one concern, but the rise in the
number of severe accidents nationwide is also putting pressure on
insurance costs,” added Passmore. Enhanced safety technology has made
automobiles drastically safer for passengers. However, we are now
witnessing a significant increase in auto accidents and highway
fatalities across the nation. NHTSA found that highway fatalities
increased by more than 9% in the first nine months of January 2015 as
compared to the same period in 2014.

PCI analysis has identified a number of factors that could be
contributing to the rise in accidents, including distracted driving,
increase in traffic congestion, and changing demographics – such as teen
drivers.

“The numbers are alarming, and in several states and on a national level
insurers are working with policymakers, industry leaders, and consumers
to promote driver safety and enact highway safety laws to protect
motorists and pedestrians, and keep insurance costs stable. However,
it’s also up to all of us to practice safe driving habits, and up to us
to teach their teenagers to do the same,” said Passmore.

PCI’s 7 Driving Safety Tips:

  1. Whether you’re taking a summer get-away or just running errands around
    town, we encourage you to buckle up, drive safely and try to be
    prepared for those who may not. Seat belts save lives and help prevent
    injuries. Also, make sure kids are in the proper car or booster seats.
  2. Plan ahead and allow extra travel time. With more people on the roads,
    often driving in unfamiliar territory, the potential for a traffic
    crash increases. We encourage motorists to plan their routes in
    advance when traveling to new destinations, be patient, and allow for
    extra travel time.
  3. Observe speed limits, including lower speeds in work zones. Stay
    focused on the road and aware of changing traffic patterns caused by
    construction. Please be cautious of the construction workers
    themselves, who are often in close proximity to the highway – and at
    great risk.
  4. Avoid distracted driving. When the entire family is traveling in the
    car, the opportunity for distraction is multiplied. Remember to put
    the phone down, and never text while driving. Be careful when eating
    on the run, as lunch can be just as distracting as a cell phone.
    Buckle up or secure pets in the back of the car.
  5. Beware of crash taxes. Although they have been banned or limited in
    several states, many cities, counties and fire districts will charge
    the at-fault driver for emergency response costs in an auto accident.
    Fees range from $100 to over $2,000 for response services. The average
    cost is $200. A typical insurance policy does not cover the cost of a
    fire truck responding to an accident.
  6. Have a plan for roadside assistance. If an accident occurs, be wary of
    unscrupulous towing companies. Have the phone number for your insurer
    or a roadside assistance program ready so you know who to call. Some
    towing companies take advantage of drivers after an accident and you
    could find yourself facing excessive fees or complications recovering
    your car from the tow yard.
  7. Update your proof of insurance. Before hitting the road, make sure to
    replace any expired insurance identification cards in the event you
    need to prove you have insurance during a traffic stop.

Follow us on Twitter @PCIAA
and #HeadsUp or #SummerSafety for the latest information on auto
accident factors contributing to rising costs to consumers and other
driving safety tips throughout the summer.

Learn More: Auto
Safety and Consumer Costs

PCI is composed of nearly 1,000 member companies, representing the
broadest cross section of insurers of any national trade association.
PCI members write more than $183 billion in annual premium, 35 percent
of the nation’s property casualty insurance. Member companies write 42
percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 27 percent of the
homeowners market, 32 percent of the commercial property and liability
market and 34 percent of the private workers compensation market.

Contacts

PCI
Brooke Kelley-Hunt
847-553-3671
brooke.kelley-hunt@pciaa.net