Parent of a Teen who will Drive Soon
It seems like a “right of passage” from childhood into becoming an adult. Your little boy or girl turns 17 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 (with the right vehicle of course!).
Teen Driving Statistics
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of teen death in the Canada. An average of 700 teens die and another 30,000 are injured annually across the nation. 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 Canada, teens (16 to 24 years of age) are involved in 24% of crashes, and in some localized areas that percentage is even higher! Recent statistics show that motor vehicle crashes are now the #1 killer of teens in Canada, 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.
In fact, because of the high death toll involved with teen driving, many provinces have Graduated Driver Licensing laws.
Graduated Driver Licensing introduces teenage drivers to the road in stages, over an extended period of time and in an environment that minimizes risk. First is the G1 Phase where the teen practices with supervision. Next is the G2 Phase where the teen is allowed independent driving with restrictions. Only after successfully completing both phases will the teen be granted full G licence driving privileges. As your teen learns this new and important skill, practice is very important. As a parent or guardian of a new driver, spend as much time as possible helping and teaching your teen good driving habits.
Many provinces have restrictive laws that go along with having a Graduated license, such as:
- Must maintain zero blood alcohol level (no alcohol in your blood)
- May not use a cell phone (including hands free), or any other hand held electronic device
- Driver and ALL passengers must wear seat belts
These laws may vary a bit by province but are now becoming extremely common. In most provinces with Graduated licencing laws, your child must complete at least 8 months of driving, and be at least 16 years of age, before they can apply for a standard driver’s license.
Ontario 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 Province of Ontario 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.
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 calculate premiums using multiple categories including:
- Accident Benefits
- Comprehensive (fire, theft, vandalism, glass)
- Collision (damage caused to the vehicle in single vehicle, multi-vehicle or hit-and-run accident)
Premiums for youthful operators are generally higher in these areas; therefore 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.
Let us assist you in making a good choice for your teen. Contact St. Andrews Insurance and one of our brokers can help you make the right decision when buying that first car for your teenager.