The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety did a survey with parents back in 2014 to find out what vehicles newly licensed teenagers are driving. Although significant safety technology has been added to newer model year vehicles, the survey showed that many teens are currently driving older model year vehicles with inferior crash protection.
The study found the following:
Many of the vehicle’s that teens are driving today do not have key safety features such as electronic stability control - but since teens are driving older model year vehicles or vehicle types or sizes that are not ideal for novice drivers.
The IIHS defines safety by recommending vehicles along these four main principles:
The IIHS recommends that parents stay away from high horsepower vehicles - which is tempting for young drivers to drive faster than they need to.
Larger vehicles protect occupants better in a crash and analysis done by HLDI shows that teen drivers are less likely to get in accidents with them in the first place. IIHS doesn’t include minicars or small cars on the recommended list, but allows small SUVs as they have a similar weight to midsize cars.
This safety feature helps drivers maintain control around curves and slippery roads and reduces risk on a level comparable to seat belts.
The vehicle chosen should have good ratings in the IIHS moderate overlap front test, acceptable ratings in the IIHS side crash test and four or five stars from NHTSA.
Just because you're buying a used car for your teenager at home doesn't mean you have to compromise on safety. There are plenty of reasonably priced, quality used vehicles with the recommended features above. For example: 2010 Ford Fusion, 2009 Volkswagen Wagon, or a 2005 Volvo XC90 would be great options for both your wallet and keeping your new driver safe.
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