For parents and teens looking to buy a car:
Article as seen in the L.A. Times
Teens’ Cars : Put safety-First
Big, Boring and Slow. Thanks the formula for teenage drivers, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A non profit that analyzes auto safety and driving issues.
Consumer report issued a list of best cars to teens and emphasized how important the electronic stability control feature is for young and new drivers.
Such systems sense when a vehicle begins to slide in a turn and applies the brakes to one or more of the auto’s wheels to keep the car on course. These features will be required on 2012 model-year vehicles.
According to Highway Safety Inst. Electronic stability control reduces the risk of fatal vehicle crashes by 50 % and fatal multiple vehicles crashes by 19 % it also slashes the potential for fatal vehicle rollover accidents in cars and SUV’s at least 72 %
Consumer report and the Institute both said teen drivers need vehicles with as many safety features as possible Incl. Antilock brakes, curtain airbags. Teen’s cars should also have good crash-test results
The crash risk is 4 times higher for 16 to 19 year olds compared with older drivers. At age 16 the crash rate is doubled what it is for 18- to 19 year olds.
Consumer Reports suggest the Hyundai Elantra and Mazda 3 as good choices for smaller cars. Teens should drive late model or new vehicles that are more likely to have safety features and less likely to break down.
Consumer report suggests the Acura TSX, Honda Accord, Kia Optima, Toyota Prius and Volkswagen Jetta for larger cars.
Both agencies said that parents should avoid SUV’s and pickup trucks because of their high center of gravity and added rollover risk. They recommend staying away from High performance and Sports cars.
The main issue with teenagers, is that they overestimate their skills and underestimate the risks. Teens have a tendency to take risks behind the wheel like tailgating and are less likely to wear their seat belts.