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Help teen drivers stay safe, says PIANJ

National Safety CouncilNational Safety Council (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

News release/Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Trenton, NJ – Spring semester is when many teen drivers begin driver education. The Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey want new drivers and their parents to know some best practices and be aware of the greater risk they face.

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens and their passengers in the U.S. In fact, the National Safety Council reports that this is the most dangerous time of a teens life. Inexperience is the primary factor for accidents in which teen drivers are involved.
The National Safety Council reports the most dangerous time of a teen’s life is the first 12 months of having a driver’s license. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens and inexperienced teen drivers are three times more likely to be involved in an accident than adults. 
Most accidents involving teens are caused by inexperience. Lack of scanning the road, going too fast for conditions, and being distracted by something or someone inside or outside the vehicle have been targeted as the main cause of these accidents.
“There are things parents can do to keep teens safe during their first months behind the wheel,” says Stephen Tague, CPIA, PIANJ president. “New drivers may not like restrictions, but these safety precautions could save their lives.”
PIANJ suggests the following guidelines:
• Enroll your child in driver’s education. Even if driver’s education is required for a license, extending your child’s time in driver’s education classes will improve their knowledge and preparation for real-life driving situations.
• Supervise first few months of driving. Ride along with your teen until you feel comfortable that he or she can handle adverse conditions like traffic congestion, bad weather, and other dangerous drivers.
• Limit the number of passengers. Even a single passenger can be a distraction, especially when it’s another teen.
• Model safe driving practices. Teens learn to drive from years of watching their parents. They see how you handle situations behind the wheel and will likely apply your practices to their own driving. Be safe. Abide by speed limits, avoid distractions, and remain calm when traffic or other drivers get under your skin.
• Forbid cellphones. Cellphone distractions are a major cause of teen auto accidents. Forbid any cellphone use by your new driver while in the car. Teens are more expensive to insure than older drivers because they're more likely to get in car accidents. There are a few ways to reduce the auto insurance cost for teen drivers 
• Ask for a good student discount. Most insurers offer discounts for students who maintain at least a 3.0 grade-point average. 
• Earn discounts for community involvement. Ask if your insurer offers discounts for membership in groups such as Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts or other civic organizations. 
• Choose a safe car that's inexpensive to insure. Luxury cars, flashy sports cars, and large SUVs, for example, are expensive to insure. 
• Enroll your teen in a safe driving class. Many car insurance companies offer discounts for completion of driver education courses.
“Call your professional, independent insurance agent to go over your options and decide on the best policy for your teen driver,” said Tague.
PIANJ is a trade association representing professional, independent insurance agencies, brokerages and their employees throughout the state.
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