Insurance advice for young driver

Parents, teach your children well!

What is to be done to help decrease the risky teenage driving behaviours? It appears that mom and dad being aware is the greatest deterrent. Combine this with professional driver training and you are giving a teenager the tools they need to work with to be a truly safe driver.

A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), shows that monitoring teenaged drivers helped with increasing the use of seat belts, but decreased more complicated behaviours, like sudden braking and speeding poses more difficulty.

The In-Vehicle Monitoring and the Driving Behaviour of Teenagers study, outfitted the vehicles of 85 recently-licensed teenage drivers with a monitoring device, that detected all instances of stopping, speeding, sudden braking, speeding, non-use of seat belts and sudden acceleration.

A detailed notification was transmitted via satellite to a central computer for each event. Drivers were assigned randomly to one of four research groups. The groups differed in whether or not parents were given access to Web sites containing notification records, or an alert sounded in the vehicle.

The researchers found that although seat belt use rates were high at the outset, they improved significantly when in-vehicle alerts were activated. In-vehicle alerts and Web site notifications also were associated with reductions in instances of sudden braking/acceleration, but most reductions were not statistically significant.

“Electronic monitoring of teenage drivers can reduce the incidence of risky behaviour, especially seat belt non-use, which declined in all treatment conditions,” the report said.

“No consistent effects were achieved for sudden braking/acceleration for any treatment group," the researchers reported. "Consistent reductions in speeding were achieved only when teenagers received alerts about their speeding behaviour, believed their speeding behaviour would not be reported to parents if corrected, and when parents were being notified of such behaviour by report cards.”

In British Columbia the enhanced graduated licensing regulations are having a positive effect. These regulations extend the novice and learner stages with a raised age for drivers needing a supervisor. Limiting the amount of passengers for new drivers is also a part of the changes. This has prevented over 17,000 accidents and saved 31 lives between 2003 and 2006, as per newly released figures from the ICBC.

With the stricter rules over the three years we saw a drop in the crash rate of 16% with the overall accidents dropping by 28%. The more serious accidents that resulted in injuries fell by 4,000.

The new drivers in B.C. will be banned from using both hand held and hands free cellphones or electronic devices when driving. This will go into effect January 2010. It has been found that the younger drivers aged 16-24 are more likely to be distracted by MP3 players or phones or MP3 players because of their relative driving inexperience.

The insurance answer
When parents set guidelines and pay attention to their teenager's driving habits the accident risk can be cut in half. Recent studies in the USA have shown that when parents gave teenagers clear cut boundaries they were 71% less likely to drink and drive, 50% less likely to crash and 200% more likely to wear their seat belts.

Let's give them the tools they need to be successful. An investment into driver training reinforces the right moves. This will save money on insurance but could also save their life. There is nothing more precious.