What do I need to know before my child starts to drive?
As your child grows your concerns for them are always changing. How well will they walk, how well will they be able to read? Will they be good in school and in sports? You have worked hard to make sure they are were they are, then we move into the pre-teen years, and the next “right of passage” from childhood into becoming an adult is their ability to drive. Your little boy or girl turns 16 and MUST have a car because everyone in school has one. Teens crave the freedom away from Mom and Dad, acceptance by their peers and the ability to show off, and lets be honest it is nice to think of them being able to drive to school themselves, or for you to send them on an errand. Boy what a weight off your shoulders.
Teen Driving Statistics
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of teen death in the United States. An average of 6,000 teens die and another 300,000 are injured annually across the nation. In Florida we have the top three deadliest metro areas for teen drivers. Number one deadliest Metro area for teen drivers is Tampa Florida, followed by Orlando, and the Jacksonville.
Teens crash for many reasons, but the most common are overconfidence, speeding, impaired driving, distraction and inexperience. In addition, seat belt use among teens is the lowest of any age group on the road.
In the United States, teens (17 to 20 years of age) are involved in 15% of crashes, but in Florida they are involved in a shocking 22% of crashes! Recent statistics from the Florida Transportation Institute show that motor vehicle crashes are now the #1 killer of teens in America, and while crashes account for only 2% of all deaths nationwide, they account for a surprising 70% of teen injury deaths. Speed, distraction, fatigue and inexperience, coupled with a lack of seat belt use, are all prevalent factors in these fatal crashes.
Florida is one of many states that have enacted Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws.
Graduated driver licensing is designed to introduce teenage drivers to driving in stages, over an extended period of time, in an environment that minimizes risk. A teen typically progresses through a permit phase, where he or she practices with supervision, to a provisional or probationary phase, which allows for independent driving with restrictions. Following successful completion of this phase, a teen is granted full driving privileges. The key here to educating the young driver is practice. As parents or guardians of the new teen driver, we should spend as much time as possible helping the newly licensed driver to practice their new skills behind the wheel.
Drivers holding a GDL license have the following restrictions placed upon them:
- May not drive between midnight and 5:00am
- May not have more than one passenger in the car who is under 21 and not an immediate family member
- May not use a cell phone (including hands free), or any other hand held electronic device
- Driver and ALL passengers must wear seat belts
Once the new driver has completed at least 6 months of driving, and is at least 16 years old, they can apply and receive a standard Florida driver’s license with no restrictions.
We suggest that a parent and teen sign a Parent Teen Driving Contract. This contract lays out what a teen has to do to be able to drive, and helps set some parameters, and the contract lays out what the parents will allow the teen do if they meet the criteria.
We also have a helpful guide for preparing your teen to drive.
Florida Fraud Laws and Auto Insurance
Insurance statistics show that since the youthful driver is significantly more likely to have an accident than a typical adult driver, so there will be a higher premium charged when the youthful driver is added to the parents policy.
There is a temptation then to “forget” to add the new driver to the auto policy or not list the new driver on your renewal questionnaire in order to save money even though the child is driving Mom or Dad’s car. We caution you against this practice. The State of Florida has certain fraud laws in this area that will allow an insurance company to deny a claim in the event the driver is an undisclosed household operator. In addition, the Attorney General has the ability to fine the policy holder in the range of thousands of dollars.
Insurance-Friendly Cars For Teens
The decision is made. You want to buy your son or daughter their first car. It will be in your name and properly added to your policy. But what to buy? You know it's not only the car model you have to consider. You also have to think about the impact the car will have on your auto insurance.
Insurance companies surcharge youthful operators in three areas:
- Comprehensive (theft)
- Collision (damage caused to the vehicle in an accident)
If you choose a vehicle that may be older, and does not require comprehensive or collision (a lower value vehicle) the premium will be considerably less than a newer one which will require full coverage.
Because we represent many different companies, your Most Insurance Agency agent can help you make the right decision when buying that first car for your teenager.
Fill out the quote request form on the top of the page, or chat with one of our licensed insurance representatives, or give us a call at 813-347-5555, or 877-979-4854.