TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
Summertime traditionally brings family vacations, relaxation, and plans for a new school year.
But AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety reports a more perilous side to summer as over 1,050 people were killed in auto crashes involving a teen driver in 2016 during the 100 Deadliest Days, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. That’s an average of 10 deaths per day — an increase of 14 percent compared to other times of the year. Speed and nighttime driving were significant factors contributing toward the number of crashes and fatalities.
The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance’s (TDCI) Division of Insurance is urging parents to take extra precautions between Memorial Day and Labor Day by stressing the importance of safe driving habits, driver training, and obeying traffic safety laws to their teens.
“This summer, I am urging parents to remind teens of safe driving practices and the deadly consequences that can result from acting recklessly behind the wheel,” said TDCI Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “I am also reminding Tennesseans to help us end distracted driving. Let’s put distracted driving in park, Tennessee.”
In an effort to reduce the number of accidents involving teen drivers, TDCI’s shares the following tips:
- Limit the number of passengers allowed in a teen’s car.
- Make distracted driving zero tolerance.
- Set a curfew for driving. In 2016, 36 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities involving a teen driver occurred between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.
- Stress the importance of seat belts and lead by example.
- Encourage teens to speak up if they are a passenger in a car where the driver is practicing unsafe driving behaviors.
- Teach by example. Practice safe driving behaviors when behind the wheel.
Know the Facts about Insuring a Teen Driver
- As long as a teen lives with their parents and doesn’t own the vehicle, the teen can stay on the parents’ policy.
- Raising insurance deductibles and allowing the teen to drive the oldest vehicle can help lower insurance costs.
- SUVs, convertibles, and sports cars often come with higher insurance premiums. Be mindful of this when looking for a car for a teen.
- Encourage teens to maintain good grades. Several insurance companies offer discounts to students with high grade point averages.
- Regularly review your policies. Multiple things can affect your premium like a teen graduating high school or reaching the age of 18.
- Even with education and preparation, accidents still happen. In the event of an accident, notify the insurance company as soon as possible.
If You’re Buying a Car
- Before going to a dealer, decide what you can afford. Don’t forget to factor in insurance, gas, and maintenance costs.
- Check your car dealer’s license at verify.tn.gov. All Tennessee auto dealers must be licensed by the Motor Vehicle Commission. Licensed dealers are required to disclose that they are a dealer in all forms of advertising, including social media, by including either their business name or license number.
- When purchasing a used car, have an independent mechanic check the car. Do not buy a car if the dealer will not let you have it inspected. Many safety defects will not be identified during a standard inspection so you should also check for recalls.
- Ensure you have copies of all paperwork. Don’t leave without copies of everything you signed.