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Vehicle type matters in teen driver safety

Readers are likely aware that there are many reasons that car accidents occur. Drunk driving, speeding and distracted driving are often factors in these incidents occurring. Depending on the specific circumstances surrounding each incident it is possible that serious injuries could be the end result. In an effort to minimize the injuries suffered in car accidents car makers continue to improve the design of the vehicles they produce, adding safety features as they become available. A study recently conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests that these safety features are something parents shopping for vehicles for teen drivers should be cognizant of. 

Once they reach the age where they can drive some parents purchase vehicles for their child. According to a telephone survey the IIHS conducted, an overwhelming majority of parents who do this, (83 percent) purchase a used vehicle.

According to the IIHS the vehicle a teen drives has an impact on the degree of injury risk he or she faces. In the years between 2008 and 2012, the death of drivers age 15-17 in crashes involving small cars was 29 percent. For drivers between the ages of 35 and 50, that number was lower--20 percent. Accordingly the IIHS recommends that when shopping for a vehicle for a teen parents opt for something that is on the large side. The heavier a vehicle is the better protection it offers should it be involved in a crash. Other recommendations include:

  • Looking at the safety ratings provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and IIHS.
  • Looking for a vehicle with electronic stability control. 
  • Avoiding cars with high horsepower.

While not all motor vehicle accidents can be prevented the outcome of such crashes for all ages may be minimized by driving vehicles that have certain safety features. When injuries are the end result of a crash a personal injury lawsuit may be appropriate. Consulting a lawyer who handles these cases is the best place to start.

Source: USA Today, “Car shopping for teen driver? Consider these, IIHS says,” Larry Copeland, July 16, 2014

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