Results of study may spur parents to upgrade to newer vehicles for teen drivers

It's considered a rite of passage that when a teen driver finally obtains a driver's license, he or she will inherit some type of older and less luxurious car than he or she likely hoped for. Still, the most important things is that it's a car and, for decades, teens have been getting the most out of the old junker cars their parents provide. However, the results of a recent study may help convince some parents with teen drivers to invest in a newer and bigger vehicle for their teen driver.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle accidents remain the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Several factors likely contribute to the high number of teens who are killed in collisions each year including a teen driver's inexperience, distracted driving, speeding, not wearing a seat belt and drinking and driving.

Additionally, according to a study that appears in the journal Injury Prevention, teen drivers are more likely to drive both smaller and older cars than middle age drivers. Each year, car manufacturers roll out new safety improvements and technologies that make motor vehicles safer. In cases where a car is 10 years old, it's unlikely to have many of the enhanced safety features that have been proven effective in both preventing crashes and preventing injuries if a vehicle is involved in an accident.

When asked in a May 2014 study about what factors are most important to parents when selecting a car for a teen driver, safety topped the list. These results, however, seem to conflict with data that shows roughly 60 percent of teen drivers currently drive a vehicle that is nine or more years old. Statistics show that approximately 65 percent of fatal crashes that involve teen drivers also involve motor vehicles that were six to 15 years old.

While this study may not prompt the parents of teen drivers to run out and purchase a son or daughter that new BMW, parents would be wise to ensure that the vehicle their teen drives is well-maintained and equipped with important safety features like front and side airbags.

Source: Medical News Today, "Too many teenagers are driving unsafe, old cars, study finds

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