Before adding a teenager to a car insurance plan, parents may want to consider their state’s graduated drivers’ license laws and make sure they are fully acclimated to the road before attempting to get their children an auto insurance quote.
A national study regarding teen driving published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that fatal accidents have decreased among 16-year-olds, yet increased for older teens.
According to JAMA, there’s been a 30 percent decline in teenage auto fatalities since the 1990s. However, a majority of the statistics compiled primarily considered teens under 18-years-old. Dr. Scott Masten, a researcher with the Department of Motor Vehicles in California, found that many of the fatal accidents GDLs allegedly saved occurred just a few years later. He added while the net reduction of fatal crashes is apparent, it’s not as substantial an improvement as initially thought.
A number of states have introduced graduated driver’s license programs over the past 20 years which require teenage drivers to fulfill specific requirements before obtaining a full license. State-to-state laws vary, but typically they require a teenager to drive with supervision for a minimum amount of hours, prohibit operating the vehicle with a fellow teenager and excluding nighttime driving for period of time. In addition, some states require at least six months of training before a teenager can take a driver’s test.
Possible reasons for the discrepancy
Masten and his department support a theory that suggests the increase of 18-year-olds involved in fatal accidents may be a result of inexperience caused by GDL laws. The rules ensure younger drivers are almost always on the road while supervised and off the road overnight. However those teenagers fail to get the feeling of driving alone before turning 18 and receiving their unrestricted licenses.
Driving alone can teach a teenager how to take full responsibility of a vehicle, instead of having the halo of constant protection and guidance while a parent or guardian is alongside them. Other teens, the study said, may simply choose to wait until they are 18 to get their license, avoiding the GDLs completely.
“The net associations found in this study represent several possible crash-reducing influences of GDL, including less driving among younger teens; reduced exposure to high-risk conditions, resulting from more driving while supervised by an adult and less driving late at night or with multiple young passengers; and safer driving, resulting from improved learning,” the study said.
The researchers also called for further study on how to reduce crash rates for older teens that aren’t affected by current rules in a bid to reduce fatalities, injuries and auto insurance quotes.