Thursday, December 10, 2009

Texting Ban Leaves Teens Frustrated and Targeted

New texting-while-driving laws in North Carolina, which went into effect December 1st, have some teens frustrated and feeling targeted.

The North Carolina newspaper, DailyAdvance, speaks with one girl about her texting habits. She admits to sending about 200 per day and texting while driving. But she's not the only one. The Pew Research Center released a study this month revealing that 1-in-4 American teens has sent a text message while driving.

19 states have jumped on board with the text-while-driving ban, but NC teens are feeling targeted.

Shanequa Riddick, 18, says she’s glad that law enforcement will be cracking down, but that text messaging has become a nationwide phenomenon, one that is catching on with all age groups.

“I think (the ban is) fair, because it could cause you to have an accident, but even older people do it,” Riddick says.

Kieshaih Holloway, 19, calls the focus on teen drivers “frustrating.”

“They say we have more problems with accidents and problems in the road. We’re just now learning (how to be safe drivers), but the whole texting thing (adults) make it just as big of a risk as we do,” Holloway says.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

19 Year Old Driver Calls to Report Herself as Drunk Driver

According to a Washington State Patrol release, a 19-year-old Auburn woman was arrested for physical control of a motor vehicle while intoxicated after calling 911 to report herself as “very drunk” while stopped on the shoulder of state Route 167 in King County.

At about 5 a.m. Nov. 16, patrol communications received a cellular 911 call from Alysha McInnis claiming that she pulled to the shoulder of southbound SR 167 in Auburn because she was intoxicated and began to lose her vision. McInnis told the dispatcher that she was underage and very drunk. She advised the dispatcher that she was given alcohol at a party without her knowledge and her friends told her that she could call 911 to have the police come pick her up and take her to the hospital to detox.

When a trooper contacted McInnis, she claimed that her arm was numb and she had blurry vision. The trooper noted that McInnis had bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech and appeared extremely intoxicated. The trooper observed a 20 ounce alcohol energy drink in the cup holder which contained 12 percent alcohol. McInnis advised the trooper that she was drinking the alcohol drink while driving and that she had drank four of the same drinks at the party.

After further investigation, the trooper believed all the symptoms she was experiencing were a result of the amount of alcohol she drank both at the party and on her way home.

McInnis was processed for physical control of a motor vehicle while intoxicated and transported to Auburn Regional Medical Center where she was released for detox treatment.

Thank you to

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Teens Take on the Distracted Driving Course

To help teens understand the dangers of distracted driving, Allstate Insurance brought a group of young drivers (many newly licensed), to a distracted driving course.

Watch the video here on the website to see the distracted teen drivers in action.

Car crashes are the #1 killer of teens. In Las Vegas, more teens have already died behind the wheel this year than all of last year.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Firm Parents Keep Teen Drivers Safe

From HealthDay News -- Your parenting style can make a huge difference in your teen's safety once he or she gets behind the wheel of a car.

Parents who set firm rules, but do so in a helpful, supportive way, can reduce the likelihood of their teen getting into an auto accident by half and decrease rates of drinking and driving, two new studies find. Positive rule-setting can also increase the odds a teen will wear a seatbelt and lessen the likelihood of talking or texting on a cell phone while driving.

Teens who had authoritative or authoritarian parents wore seatbelts twice as often as teens with uninvolved parents. Teens with parents in these groups were also half as likely to speed as those with uninvolved parents. Teens with authoritative parents -- high support and rules -- were half as likely to get into a car accident, 71 percent less likely to drink and drive, and 29 percent less likely to talk or text on their cell phones while driving compared to teens with uninvolved parents.

Read the full article: Firm Parents Keep Teen Drivers Safe.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ford Premieres "MyKey"

Ford Motor Company has debuted their own safe teen driver device with "MyKey" which allows parents to program a special key to promote safe driving habits.

Andrew Sarkisian is Ford's safety director, and one of the creators of MyKey, an invention inspired partly by the experiences of his daughter, Jennifer.

"Say I want to turn on MyKey, and I want to make sure my son or daughter's buckled up. If they're not, the radio won't operate," he said.

You can also set a speed limit with MyKey. "It has a maximum top speed that you can turn on to the vehicle. It's a fairly high one, but then there's also speed alerts, so you can have reminders about watching your speed, as well," Sarkisian explained.

MyKey is standard equipment in the brand new Taurus and will be standard on Ford's lowest-priced vehicle, the Ford Focus.

Click here to learn more about MyKey.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Auto Insurance Money Saving Tips

If you haven't already added your teen driver to your insurance policy, we should warn you now, it's gonna be pricey. But we've found a few ways you can lower your cost during this new development in both of your lives.

Money Saving Tip #1) Raise your deductible. Your “deductible” is the amount you pay when you make a claim before your insurance “kicks in”. In other words, if you have a $1,000 claim and a $250 deductible, you pay the first $250 and your insurance company pays the next $750.

The disadvantage of raising your deductible is that when you make a claim, you’ll pay more. The advantage of raising your deductible is that your premium will go down, sometimes as much as 15% to 30% on your collision and comprehensive insurance.

Money Saving Tip #2) Drop your collision and/or comprehensive insurance on older vehicles. Sometimes it’s just not worth paying for comprehensive and collision if your car is not worth that much to begin with. That’s because the amount you pay for the deductible plus the amount you pay for the premium may be more than the value of the car itself. A rule of thumb is that if a car is worth less than $2,000, drop these coverage’s -- but many people are comfortable with even higher figures. Go to Kelly Blue Book at to determine the value of your vehicle.

Money Saving Tip #3) Buy a “lower profile” vehicle. Part of what determines the cost of insurance is the kind of car you own. Some cars are favorite cars for thieves. Some cars are more expensive to repair. Generally, these cars will cost more to insure. To get detailed information on your car – or car you’re thinking about buying –give our office a call for the symbol rating for a vehicle. The symbol rating can be used for comparing rates from one vehicle to another. We do this for all of our clients for free.

Money Saving Tip #4) Insure your automobile with the same company that insures your home. Most companies offer discounts when you have all your insurance with the same company. You can save up to 20% on your auto insurance premiums if you have your homeowners insurance and auto insurance with the same company. You will also get a discount on your homeowners.

Money Saving Tip #5) Keep on eye on your credit score. What does credit have to do with insurance? It has a lot to do with it today. In the past few years, insurance companies started using credit for underwriting. It is used to place people in certain pricing tiers and responsibility is why. They believe that if someone is responsible enough to keep their credit clean, they are responsible enough to drive safe. Believe it or not, the numbers prove this works in general. Insurance is a numbers game and in order to be competitive, they must save where they can.

Money Saving Tip #6) Check out other discounts. Insurance companies try to reward drivers what they think are good risks. That’s the kind of driver they want. Responsible and safety conscious drivers are going to pay lower premiums. Claims free discounts and superior credit will allow you to be insured with a company that has the lowest premiums available. There are other discounts like automatic seat belts, airbags, mature drivers, and safe drivers. Another great discount is the “Good Student” discount. Companies that specialize in insuring young drivers will offer this valuable discount. Call us about these and other discounts that are currently being offered in our area.

Money Saving Tip #7) Use an independent agent that specializes in family protection. Don’t trust your hard earned dollars to someone that works directly for one insurance company. Use someone that can “shop” your premium with several companies. This agent will look out for your interests and keep your premiums down for the long term. Insurance companies experience good times and bad times depending on their losses for a given year or years. If your insurance company has significantly increased their premiums for more than a year or two, it may be time for your agent to “shop” for you. If you are using an agent that works for just one company, they won’t be doing much “shopping”. You’ll have to cut back on your coverage and make changes that can increase your liability.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

PEMCO: Texting While Driving Rate Up

PEMCO Insurance issued a news release, August 25, that reveals more Washingtonians are texting while driving. The PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll, conducted by FBK Research, shows that of those who use electronic devices, more of them – 18% – admit to reading or sending text messages while driving than in February 2008, when only 6% said they did so. Ironically, the same poll found that increasing numbers of drivers are concerned that texting while driving is a dangerous distraction.

Under Your Influence, a website dedicated to parents of teen drivers maintains the following:
They'd probably never tell you this but your teen really does look up to you. Under the layers of music, school activities, problems with friends, rebellion, struggles, and joys is your teen, and they need you to guide them in what they should and should not do. It's pretty clear that car crashes are the number one cause of death among teens, and if we all just ignore the problem, it's not going to go away.

Moral of the story? Monkey see, monkey do. It's still dangerous for you, even as a parent, to be texting while driving. It's even worse to do it in front of your teen.

Under Your Influence also gives these practice tips on driving with your teen:
  1. Don't be pushy
  2. You are in control
  3. Set some basic ground rules
  4. Pack your patience
  5. Don't talk down to your teen while you're teaching them how to drive
  6. Be sure to give specific praise to your teen while they drive
  7. Set a specific agenda for each time you take your teen out to practice
  8. Keep your conversations focused on driving
  9. Set a time limit that both you and your teen can agree on
  10. Keep a driving log while you practice
  11. Don't stop talking to your teen after they get their license

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Teenage Driver Guilty of Murder, Facing 15 Years to Life

Last Thursday, 18 year old Milad Moulayi (an unlicensed driver) had been warned not to drive, hours before a fatal crash, by a juvenile court judge. He was also told by several friends minutes before that he was too drunk to drive after an evening of rum shots.

His classmate, 16 year old MacKenzie Frazee, who lived about 2 miles away and was not wearing shoes at the time, allowed Moulayi to drive her home. Minutes later she was killed in a high speed crash. Moulayi was taken to a nearby hospital for minor injuries.

Orange County District Attorney Investigator Wes Vandiver, an accident reconstruction expert, stated that evidence shows Moulayi lost control of his mother's Mercedes Benz while driving in speeds of 100+ MPH, crossed over the center median, knocked over two road signs, and then laid down over 500 feet of skid marks before hitting a concrete pole which sliced the Mercedes in half.

Deputy District Attorney Susan Price argued that Moulayi, who was prosecuted as an adult, should be convicted of second-degree murder rather than vehicular manslaughter because he knew that driving while intoxicated was dangerous to human life but he decided to do so anyway.

Price later added that she hoped the verdict sends a message to young people that "you don't get a free murder just because you are young. … If you choose to engage in drinking and driving, you face serious consequences."

Thank you to OC Register

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Distractions Pose a Huge Threat to Teen Drivers

Car accidents remain the #1 killer of teens in the United States and studies have shown that teens that drive with other teens in the car heighten the risk of a crash.

A survey was conducted with 5000 high school students. This is the information they found:
  • 90% of teens said friends in car distracted the driver
  • 89% of teens said that friends used cell phones while they drove
  • 79% of teens said passengers and/or the driver danced and sang in the vehicle
  • 20% of 9th - 11th graders have been involved in at least one car crash within the last year

    Drunk driving campaigns have been effective in teens as most teen crashes are not alcohol related. Now we all need to drive home the fact that distraction is bigger than anything.
  • Wednesday, July 22, 2009

    Cost of Hit & Run

    Your teen has just gotten in their first accident backing up in a parking lot. Quickly they look around to see if anyone else had witnessed the accident and speed away.

    They've committed a hit and run.

    Little did they know, security cameras have caught the whole thing on tape and now they'll pay the price.

    In Washington State, the fine is $5000 and/or a year in jail plus restitution (payment to the victim of the crime for bodily injuries and/or damages) and court costs and fines.

    In addition, depending on the circumstances, there could be prison time, community service, court costs, attorney fees...

    In all, you and your teen could be looking at thousands and thousands of dollars.

    Friday, July 10, 2009

    Kids Club Carnival CANCELED

    Unfortunately, we've had to cancel the Kids Club Carnival this year. We are slated to do this next year with even more fun and games than we originally planned.

    Donations for Northwest Harvest are still encouraged (monetary and non-perishable food items) at all 6 of our locations. You can find our locations and directions by going to our site:

    Thursday, July 9, 2009

    Teen Driver Kills Gentleman, Charged with Manslaughter

    16-year-old Brooklyn, New York resident Dervish Nivokazi, was charged recently with manslaughter after he killed 65-year-old Zak Stanislaw who was waiting at a bus stop.

    Police say that Nivokazi was speeding in a 2005 Mazda, hit a Toyota, and then slammed into Stanislaw who was pronounced dead minutes after the 9:20pm crash.

    Nivokazi had only a junior license (similar to Washington's intermediate license) which prohibits driving after 9pm. He was treated for minor injuries at Lutheran Hospital. The driver of the Toyota was not injured.

    According to Wiley Norvell of Transportation Alternatives, only 29 drivers in New York State have been charged with negligent homicide from 1994 to 2008 despite thousands of pedestrians and bicyclists that have been killed.

    Thursday, June 25, 2009

    Teen Crashes Cost $34 Billion Per Year

    A study released by the American Auto Association (AAA) estimates that crashes involving drivers 15-17 years of age accounted for over $34 billion in 2006 alone.

    The study stated that these teen drivers were involved in nearly a million crashes in 2006, injuring 406,427 people and killing 2,541. Fatality costs were estimated to cost $3.841 million in lost wages, lawsuits, emergency response crew wages, and medical expenses while injury accidents post an average of $50,512 per incident.

    Washington State requires liability limits of at least $25,000/$50,000 for bodily injury and $10,000 for property damage. If you cause an accident that exceeds these limits you must pay the difference out of pocket.

    With a newly licensed teen driver, we strongly suggest raising your limits...and maybe consider an umbrella policy which provides extra coverage to your home and auto in a single limit of insurance; usually $1 million or $2 million is common but some companies offer a limit of $5 million or more. Check back next week for more information on umbrella policies!

    Thank you to

    Thursday, June 11, 2009

    New York Tightens Teen Driving Laws

    Albany, New York is in the process of enacting new teen driving laws to bring down teen driver and passenger fatalities.

    Currently, teens are able to get their license within the first 6 months of their permit with only 20 hours required of parent observation. The new bill raises that to 6 months of permit driving until even being able to schedule the road test and 50 hours or observed driving with 15 of those being night driving.

    The bill would ban the use of electronic devices, handheld or other, and reduce the number of non-family drivers to one until age 21.

    The bill also closes loopholes where teens were able to plea-bargain driving offenses to reduce them to non-moving violations, and thus avoiding points being added to their driving record. The only drawback to this is many parents pay for the driver's insurance so maybe having some court appointed volunteer work would actually be more appropriate.

    One place the bill may falter, however, is drivers will be able to get their full license at age 17 whereas the federal bill restricts a full license until age 18.

    36% of teen deaths are caused by motor vehicle accidents, and teen drivers are twice as likely to die in crashes as are adult drivers, studies show.

    Thank you to Buffalo News.

    Thursday, June 4, 2009

    Teen Crashes: Highest on Saturday and Sunday Night

    It's important to educate yourself-- as a parent and a teen driver. Below are 2 tables of information. Look them over carefully and you'll notice 2 things. Crash rates for teen drivers are most risky on Saturday and Sunday nights. Does this come as a surprise to you? Maybe not. But the awareness alone is imporant.

    Share this with your teen driver. Do they notice a difference in the way they drive on weekends? Night driving vs. day driving, in general? Are they driving friends? Are they excited to go to a party or event? What is it about night and weekend driving for teens?

    Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths by day of week, 2007
    Day of WeekDeaths%
    *Total includes other and/or unknowns

    Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths by time of day, 2007
    Time of DayDeaths%
    *Total includes other and/or unknowns

    Thursday, May 14, 2009

    Help Your Teenage Driver Make Safe Choices

    Neither a borrower nor a lender be. That's a quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Advice from a father, Polonius, to his teenage son. There are two reasons why this is good teenage driving advice.

    First: Lending a car to another teen is potentially dangerous. There will be a teenage driver, which statistically means a poor driver; there will be other teenagers in the car; there will probably be elevated emotions as a result; there will probably be overconfidence about driving skill in general since teens usually lend and borrow cars after they've driven only a few months; and, by definition, the teen is not driving his or her "regular" car -- it's a borrowed car.

    Second: An insurance policy typically insures the vehicle for bodily injury and property damage only if the registered owner is driving it, or if it's being driven with the permission of the registered owner. Teenagers seldom are the registered owners -- parents are. So when teens lend to teens, there might be no insurance. Zero. The parent has not given the friend permission to drive. This means that your own teenager, riding as a passenger in your car, may not have coverage, because a teenage friend is doing the driving. If your children appreciate this, they may choose not to lend the keys to their friends.

    Passengers get hurt, too. At some point, your teenagers will be passengers in a car driven by another teenager. Passengers can get hurt, too, worse than drivers. So let's look at passenger safety. Here are some points to discuss with your young driver.
    • Don't ride with someone again if you didn't like their driving the first time.
    • Wear a seat belt, even if no one else wears theirs.
    • Let the driver concentrate. Don't encourage speed, loud music, horseplay, etc.
    • Avoid alcohol, even as a passenger. It increases rowdiness, noise, distractions.

    These are difficult things for a teenager to do. They require going against the grain, doing what isn't fun, doing what isn't emotional. That takes a lot of leadership.

    That means doing what you know, inside, is the right thing to do. The smart thing to do. The responsible thing to do. Your child might even be pleasantly surprised and find out that the other occupants of the car agree-- they wanted to settle down, too, but they were afraid to say so.

    Thank you to PEMCO Insurance Company

    Thursday, May 7, 2009

    To Drive or Not To Drive!

    To Drive or not to Drive!

    And that really is the question! What age is the right age for a teenager to get their drivers license?

    The age and requirements vary state-to-state and have varied laws concerning all aspects of when, where and how teens may drive.

    We pose the question regarding readiness to the parents.
    Even if the age to get a license in your state is 16, you must ask yourself is your teen mature enough and ready for the responsibility?

    No parent wants to say no to their children but feelings and emotions involving things like peer pressure and the ability to impress their friends have no place behind the wheel of a car. Being that traffic deaths are the number 1 reason for high mortality rates in teenagers.

    Let's face it, driving is all about responsibility. Are your kids good with following the rules, doing the chores, handling their emotional ups and downs sensibly? Only you know how your child will measure up to these questions.

    Here are some ideas from another parent.

    Many parents "basically cut their kids loose the minute they get their driver's license." That was not the case with the Cox family's oldest child, Rachel, who turned 16 in January and got her license in April. The decision to allow her to drive was tied to certain rules. Among them:

    She's not allowed to use a cell phone while driving. Cox checks the itemized statement to ensure the rule is followed.

    She's not permitted to have passengers (except for family) for at least a year. Cox sometimes bends this rule, depending on where her daughter is going and with whom.

    Rachel must continue to drive with her parents on occasion, so they can observe. And she's required to enroll in a New Driver Car Control Clinic.

    There was never any room for negotiation. Donna Cox has had the rules in mind since 1997, when she helped her best friend bury her 16-year-old son in Louisville. He had been driving just four days.

    "His death notice and picture have hung on my kitchen cabinet for the last nine years," Cox says, "so it's a daily reminder."

    Thursday, April 30, 2009

    Starting School Day Later Lowers Auto Accidents

    Letting teens sleep a little more by starting the school day a bit later may lower their odds for car crash injury or death, a new study finds. The researchers found a 16.5% drop in auto accident rates for teen drivers when high schools moved the start of classes from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

    The possible reason? More sleep, more alert driving, the researchers said.

    After puberty, adolescents are biologically programmed to stay up about an hour later each night. People blame teenagers' sleep deprivation on computers and staying up late to e-mail friends. Probably true, but there is evidence teens get phase-shifted by at least an hour. So you've got biology pushing you later and then you've got the school systems starting an hour earlier. By the end of the week, [kids] are a wreck and our study shows they might actually be in one."

    In the study, researchers surveyed around 10,000 students from grades 6 through 12 on their sleep habits and daytime functioning, including auto mishaps. The surveys were completed twice -- first in 1998, when school started at 7:30 a.m., and then again in 1999, when the start time had been moved to 8:30 a.m.

    Besides the 16.5% drop in car crashes, the researchers also found that the number of students who got at least eight hours of sleep per night rose from 35.7% in 1998 to 50% after the later school time came into effect.

    Kids need at least eight hours and probably closer to nine hours of sleep, Danner said. And as little as an hour less sleep on school nights can have a cumulative effect. That means that by the end of the week, teens are as impaired as if they had stayed up for 24 hours straight.

    Discuss this with your kids and alert them to their need to get plenty of sleep.

    Thursday, April 23, 2009

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    Distractions and the Common Teen Driver

    It's not just alcohol and the drugs that increase the fatality risks for teen drivers, in fact probably a far more common risk is driving distractions.

    Distractions for anyone, even experienced drivers, can be an extremely dangerous thing. But then you add inexperience to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster.

    Let's look at some of the most deadly and prevalent distractions facing teen drivers today. First, according to a 2008 statistic 87% of the 6,000 teen drivers that die every year is because of driving with distractions. That pretty much says it all!

    What Are The Distractions?
    Well a major one is texting and cell phone usage. There are new laws in the State of Washington that ban usage of cell phones while operating a motor vehicle but that alone won't always deter teens from trying to read that ever so important text message.

    Another distraction is eating and drinking, trying to pass around a box of cookies or getting a sip of a soda can be as dangerous a distraction as texting.

    And other concerns for teen drivers is usage of the radio or CD player in the car, putting on makeup, or flirting with that cute guy or gal walking on the sidewalk. We once heard of a car full of “cute guys” getting the attention of a girl in the vehicle traveling next to them on a major interstate. The distraction was enough to cause an accident but believe it or not, they drove closer and closer to pass a cell phone to the female driver so she could type in her number. Then, they inched closer again (traveling at 60 miles per hour, mind you) so she could pass the phone back. Surprisingly, no one got hurt and no accidents were caused. But it’s just this type of reckless decision making that make teens such dangerous drivers!

    Parents are dealing with protecting their young teen drivers by many methods but primarily we are suggesting that parents contact their insurance company for pointers on how to guide their children into becoming safe and responsible drivers. Many companies offer or can refer you to a company that offers GPS tracking devices (we offer Teensurance through Safeco—learn more at The GPS works by alerting the parent by e-mail, voice delivery, or text to let them know if the teen driver has broken any of the set “agreements” of the parent/teen contract. The agreements include curfew, areas they’re not allowed to drive in, and speed. The GPS is installed in the dash, professionally, and then is updated in real time on a website where parents can log in with a designated username and password.

    There are other options beside the GPS but we strongly suggest that you are proactive with your teen driver. Inquire about pertinent literature, take advantage of any safety courses with driving instructors or your insurance company, and most of all, stay in touch and in constant dialog with your teen drivers for safety's sake. It could mean their life.

    More questions regarding Teensurance through Safeco? You can e-mail us at We also give discounts.

    Monday, April 20, 2009

    Exciting Update!

    A quick update-- We're in the works of getting video postings on the blogs. The Flip and Flip Mino has taken the country by storm and we're hoppin on the Flip train!

    What do you want to see? What do you want to know? Insurance related or not, we'd like to be a wealth of information to you on home, auto, catastrophe information and more.

    Did you know we have another blog? SAV-ON Blog. Check it out!

    Thursday, April 16, 2009

    Finding a Good Driving Instructor

    If you're lucky enough to be in the North Seattle metro area, we hands down recommend A-Team Driving School. The owner/instructor, Bill, is excellent. Brittany is also an instructor and is great too. If you're not in that area though-- here are some important questions to ask when you're looking.

    • How long have you been a driving instructor?
    • Do you have male or female instructors?
    • Are all your instructors fully qualified?
    • Can I have the same instructor for all my lessons?
    • What type of cars do you use?
    • Are the cars dual controlled?
    • How old are the cars?
    • Do I have the same car for every lesson?
    • Do you work weekends?
    • How much are your lessons? (Cheap doesn't always equal best.)
    • Do you have discounts?
    • What's your pass rate?
    • How long is each lesson?
    • Any fees for lesson cancellation?

    Some other good questions to ask if a friend/family member is referring you:
    • Are they reliable?
    • Are they friendly and patient?
    • Does the instructor smoke?

    Thursday, April 9, 2009

    Cell Phone Enabled GPS Tracking Device Created by Teen

    At just 20 years old, Jonathan Fischer has created a Cell Phone GPS Teen Tracking Device which measures speed, curfew, and off-limit areas.

    It works by having a black box installed in the vehicle. Anytime you speed or break other agreements it sends an annoying alert through the teen's cell phone.

    Fischer began working on the device at 16 year of age after a local teen driver was killed behind the wheel due to speeding. He's won awards and even a hefty prize of $20,000 for his business plan.

    The device is a pricey $250 to start and then $15 per month after. But a distinctive feature is in the GPS. Mapping lets the box know what the speed limit is on any given road, so if for example, you're going 10 miles over anywhere it will send the alert.

    To learn more:

    Thursday, April 2, 2009

    The Psychology of Teen Driving

    Driving excitement.
    If you tell your teenage children they can't have teenage passengers, music, night driving, etc., you'll likely hear something like this: "What's the point of even having a license if I can't drive with my friends and listen to music? What's the point if I can't have fun?"

    We've all been brainwashed by a lifetime of ads and movies to think that driving should be exhilarating, exciting, and fun-- an emotional experience. Well, it shouldn't be. If it is, you're doing it wrong. (When was the last time you felt exhilarated during your morning commute?) Emotion is what sells cars. But we're really not supposed to drive emotionally. this point gets lost on people, especially teenagers.

    Driving should be no more emotional than a bus ride. Getting from point A to B is the objective. Driving is a means of transportation, not entertainment. Discuss this with your children, and at least get them thinking about it. Their emotional level while driving is a good measurement of their driving maturity.

    Your kids can monitor this themselves. If they feel they're getting "pumped up" by being behind the wheel, that should be a warning flag to you and to them. Can you eliminate or reduce whatever is creating the emotion-- the music, the friend in the front seat, the type of car?

    Overconfidence after 6-12 months of driving.
    Among PEMCO policyholders, 16-year-olds have a higher accident rate than adults, but not that much higher. However, at age 17, 18, and 19, we see the rate jump to three times the adult rate. One reason is that teenagers get overconfident. They've driven from home to school to home repeatedly, and they begin to think they've mastered driving.

    They haven't. They've only mastered their "regular" trips, where they know every curve, intersection and lane change. That doesn't mean they're good at judging new situations for the first time, especially if it's under difficult conditions (other teens in the car, dark outside, bad weather, etc.). They're still "intermediate" drivers playing in an "advanced" tournament, and they have a long way to go before they can perform at that level.

    Overconfidence when driving a different car.
    Any car that isn't your child's regular car is potentially a hazard. Your friend's car. Another car in the family. A Sport Utility Vehicle or another vehicle that is bigger, heavier, and takes longer to turn or stop. Sensitize your teenagers to this. They will need to focus harder. The car will handle differently. The dashboard will be different. The light switch and wiper controls might be unfamiliar. There will be a number of distractions they aren't used to.

    Thursday, March 26, 2009

    Study: Metropolitan Cities With Highest Teen Crash Rates

    A study by Allstate Insurance Company in May 08 found the following cities to have the highest crash rates for teens:
    • Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Fla.
    • Orlando/Kissimmee, Fla.
    • Jacksonville, Fla.
    • Nashville, Tenn.
    • Birmingham, Ala.
    • Phoenix, Ariz.
    • Kansas City, Mo. (and Kan.)
    • Atlanta, Ga.
    • Charlotte, N.C.
    • Louisville, Ky.

    The study also found the cities with the lowest teen driver fatality rates were:
    • San Francisco/Oakland, Calif.
    • San Jose, Calif.
    • New York City (including Long Island and northern New Jersey)
    • Los Angeles, Calif.
    • Cleveland, Ohio
    • Milwaukee, Wisc.
    • Boston, Mass.
    • Portland, Ore.
    • Salt Lake City, Utah
    • Chicago, Ill.

    George Ruebenson, president of Allstate Protection adds:
    "The study shouldn't just concern parents and leaders in the nation’s deadliest hotspots – car crashes claim the lives of more American teens than anything else coast-to-coast. Although some cities post better scores than others, the whole country must take responsibility for addressing this crisis. We feel that state and federal leaders should enact uniform national standards for graduated drivers licensing laws. Further, we must have better conversations with teens about safe driving and set good examples through our own good driving behavior."

    Their findings kicked off a campaign to unify Graduated Licensing Laws which currently differ state to state. You can read the full article by clicking here.

    Thursday, March 12, 2009

    Teen / Parent Driving Contract

    Teenagers these days think they know everything. And yeah, they might know be up on the latest Twitter posts but they don't know everything when it comes to driving.

    You want to give them a little freedom, maybe fall, but ultimately get back up and learn from the mistake. YES, they promise to be safe... that they won't speed, that they'll check their blind spot-- but you don't really know once you're not watching from the passengers seat.

    But maybe you're right... they need a little freedom. But you should still have a Teen / Parent Driver Contract! Here's a sample of what's covered...
    1. I understand that as far as the law is concerned, my acts are the acts of my parents.
    2. I will drive carefully, cautiously, in control and obey the law.
    3. I will not allow my car to be driven by anyone who has been drinking any form of intoxicating liquor or has taken any type of illegal drug or any drug that could cause danger to passengers in the car or public.

    This form is great... your teen now has a contract with you and all is fair! They can't renege on the contract and you can fall back on what you've already agreed upon... it's signed and dated!

    For the full version, e-mail us at and request one! You have to realize now, there are legal implications of a teen driver!

    Thursday, March 5, 2009

    Are you Negatively Impacting Your Teen’s Driving Behavior?

    We read a lot about the reasons why teenage drivers are more likely to have accidents than older, more experienced drivers. Speed, over correction, and distractions in the car are cited as being some of the most frequent contributors to teenage driving accidents.

    But, let’s take a moment to examine your teen's state of mind when they get into the car, or while they are in it with you. To promote your teen’s safety behind the wheel, do your best to provide them with an emotionally supportive and safe environment at home. Angry or emotionally upset teenage drivers are more inclined to rebel through some form of wild behavior, such as speeding or reckless driving. Monitor your teen carefully before allowing them to drive if you know they are upset.

    Additionally, if you’re one of those committed parents who is providing driver training to your teenage child, you need to make sure you exhibit patience and control your reactions to their mistakes. Parents over reacting emotionally can be as dangerous as teenagers over correcting the car. Consider the following questions:
    1. Does my teenage child know that it’s ok to make mistakes? Or does he think I’ll lose it if he does?
    2. If he models my driving behavior, will he be safe? Or am I guilty of many of the actions I’m coaching him to avoid?
    3. Is my teen too stressed to drive safely? Am I contributing to that stress?
    4. Have I made my teenage driving expectations clear?
    5. Does my teenager understand the consequences of breaking the teenage driving rules we’ve established?
    6. Do I spend too much energy worrying about what could happen?
      The more you worry about anything, the worse that situation becomes, because worry wears you down and makes you less effective. Even when it comes to parenting, our kids don’t need us to worry about them; they need us to believe in them. Believing in your child’s inherently positive potential supports his belief in himself, which is something he needs to accept responsibilities and overcome challenges.
    For more information on how to keep your teen driver safe and for copies of teen/parent contracts visit our Safe Teen Driver Site which is dedicated soley to helping parents help their teen drivers become safer drivers.

    Thursday, February 26, 2009

    Speak Up Or Else!

    The Speak Up Or Else ad campaign will be starting soon with comedic 30 second commericals airing on safe teen driving.

    Their website, features these 4 commercials, real stories, quick facts, e-cards, and you can even "Sign The Pledge" by filling in your first name and last initial to receive one of these to post on your myspace, facebook, or blog...

    The website also features a toolkit for parents and adults to get involved!

    Sav-on would like to remind you that we also have a great teen safety program featuring Phil's tragic story. If you would like to have us come out, please contact us at or call 206-878-1404.

    Thursday, February 19, 2009

    Why Are Teen Rates So High?

    Young people ages 15-24 represent only 14% of the U.S. population. However, they account for 30% ($19 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28% ($7 billion) among females.

    Also, the crash rate for 16-year-olds is 3.7 times higher than drivers of all ages. And the crash rate for 16 to 19-year-olds is 2.7 times higher than drivers of all ages.

    Even more shocking...Did you know car accidents are the leading cause of death for ages 15-19?

    These factors have a huge impact on why rates would be so high for a young driver. You can find out more by e-mailing or start up a discussion here!

    We'll be going over these statistics and more today as we head up to A-Team Driving School to do our presentation on insurance to to share Phil Devitte's tragic story of the car accident that changed his life...You can read it by clicking here.

    Thank you to &

    Thursday, February 12, 2009

    Student Driver, Be Kind

    In Europe, new drivers will put a large noticeable "L" for Learner on their car so that other vehicles can be made aware.

    Looking around lately, parents have decided to put "Student Driver, Be Kind" stickers and other sorts of magnets and whatnot. Some driver's education schools will even provide you with these bumper stickers!

    But a website called has taken the edge off the phrase "student driver" and created fun Rookie Driver stickers, magnets, and removable flags ranging from $7.95 for a sticker to $19.40 for a package deal. You can check out their products by clicking here.

    The idea makes sense, it's inexpensive and easy...and the student driver will likely be given some room by the experienced drivers. According to the RookieDriver website:
    As adults, we've all experienced moments of irrational and impatient horn honking at “that scatterbrain in front of us” who on closer inspection turns out to be a neighborhood kid. Rookie Driver® products serve as a reminder for experienced drivers to extend courtesy, respect, and patience to Rookie Drivers everywhere.

    Thursday, February 5, 2009

    Teensurance™ powered by Safeco

    Safeco agents are now able to offer a $70 discount off the $169 Teensurance package for a low price of $99 to start. And the professional installation is free.

    Teensurance is a great tool and program to help parents keep teen drivers safe. The GPS is installed under the dash and away from view to monitor things like speeding and location in real time, and sends alerts on things like curfew and driving out of "safe zones".

    You even have free roadside assistance, up to 4 incidents per year and unlimited remote door unlock if the vehicle has automatic locking doors.

    There's so many more features with this great system. We're always open to questions or you can find out more by going to

    Thursday, January 29, 2009

    Texting-While-Driving Ban Update

    Even though Washington was the first state to pass laws about texing-while-driving it's yet that the law has been really enforced.

    Only 2 tickets have been issued in Seattle Municiple Court since the ban took effect January 2008 to September 2008. Statewide, there were 58 citations and 61 warnings during that time which is only a small percentage of the 983,000 traffic stops troopers made total.

    According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), "Given that crash risk increases substantially with drivers' use of either hand-held or hands-free phones, bans on hand-held cellphones will not eliminate the problem entirely. The problem with laws prohibiting hands-free phones is that they are difficult to enforce."

    There are only 4 other states that have followed suit with the texting-while-driving law: Washington, Alaska, Louisiana, Minnesota and New Jersey.

    Monday, January 19, 2009

    Q & A

    A few frequently asked questions for parents of teen drivers like you...and maybe a couple you hadn't thought about! If you have additional questions, we'd be happy to answer them! Please e-mail us at or call one of our 6 locations at 1-888-867-2866.

    What should parents consider when insuring teen drivers?
    Parents should consider 3 factors when insuring their teen driver. First, they need to do everything they can to prevent their teen from causing an accident. Lack of education and experience are the leading factors in teen driver accidents. Parents need to give their teen as much training and experience behind the wheel as possible to keep them safe and avoid costly tickets and accidents. Second, parents need to make sure they are protected in case their teen causes an accident. Teens are 5 times more likely to cause an accident that can result in a lawsuit than experienced drivers. Good insurance coverage is a must for parents with teen drivers.
    Third, parents need an agent that understands how to protect families with teen drivers and how to help them get the right protection at the lowest cost. This agent can find ways to save money while offering coverage that can protect them from lawsuits.

    Why are insurance rates high for teen drivers?
    Teen drivers are five times more likely to cause accidents than experienced drivers. The cost of these claims are on average 3 times higher as well. Insurance companies know this and have to charge higher rates to cover the higher risk of costly and more frequent accidents.

    How can parents reduce the cost of insuring their teen driver?
    First, parents need to understand that the rates are highest during the first three years they are licensed and if their teen gets a ticket or causes accidents their rates can triple. If parents do everything they can to make sure their teen drives safely, they will save a small fortune in rate increases due to tickets and accidents. If they have an agent that specializes in protecting families with teen drivers, that agent most likely knows what companies offer the lowest rates and can help them save by increasing deductibles and finding every discount possible, i.e. like a discount for good grades.

    What should parents do to make sure they are protected in case their teen causes an accident?
    When a parent adds a teen driver to their insurance policy, the chances of them being involved in a lawsuit increases dramatically. Insurance companies will only pay what their liability limit is on their policy. If the accident is serious enough, the parent’s assets are at risk. They will have to pay the difference between the liability limit and the amount awarded by the lawsuit. This is the most critical time when they need an agent that specializes in protecting families with teen drivers. This agent can review their coverage and offer the right liability limits to protect their assets.

    How can parents reduce the likelihood of their teen causing an accident?
    Education and experience is most important for safe driving. Unfortunately, new drivers are lacking this. It is up to the parent to give them as much structured practice time behind the wheel as needed to learn the most important driving skills and reactions. A home study driving course such as the Safe Teen Driver Guide is an excellent way to give the teen the necessary education and experience. Parents should also consider a GPS Teen Driver Monitoring System to make sure that their teen continues to drive safely while the parent is not in the car.

    Many parents consider placing the teen on a separate policy. Is this a good idea?
    No, this is not a good idea. As long as the teen is dependent on the parents, (they live in the household or the parent owns the car, even if the child is away at school ), they can be held liable for their teen’s mistakes. When you place a teen on a separate policy, it is very difficult to get adequate coverage for the teen because they are considered “high risk” and most high risk insurance companies will only provide lower limits than what teen drivers need. Since the teen cannot get adequate coverage, the parents can still be sued for their teen’s accidents. It also costs more to insure teens on separate policies. They are charged higher rates since they are insured by companies that insure higher risk drivers. When the teen is on their parents’ policy, they get multi-car discounts and are usually insured by preferred companies with lower rates.

    What tools do you offer to parents to help them make their teens safer drivers?
    Our agency offers many tools to help parents keep their teen drivers safe. First we have the Safe Teen Driver Guide. This is a 16 step home study driving course that parents can use to give their teens the education and most importantly, the experience they need to drive safely. We also offer a GPS Teen Driver Monitoring System. This system can alert parents when their teen drives at high speeds, after curfew or beyond a specified driving range. It can also allow parents to “check in” on their teen to make sure they are safe. Another tool we offer is the Parent/Teen driver contract to help teens get a clear understanding of the rules set forth to have the privilege to drive. Our website offers other tools such as 101 teen driver safety tips, information on how to get protected at the lowest cost, and much more. Coming soon, we will be offering a “How’s My Driving” bumper sticker and incident reporting service.

    How does the GPS Teen Driver Monitoring System work?
    This amazing system can give parents peace of mind knowing that their teen is driving safely. It has a small GPS unit that is installed under the dash in the teen driver’s car. This unit is connected to a website that parents can access to set parameters and view the car’s location, speed, and even unlock the car doors if the teen locks his or her keys in the car. Once parameters are set for speed limits, driving distance, and curfew, parents can receive alerts when a teen break these parameters. It can also let parents know by text message, e-mail, or phone call when their teen arrives at a destination, such as arriving at school every day.

    Thursday, January 15, 2009

    Protecting Your Teen's Vehicle in Economic Crunch - Part Two

    With economic pressure, crime is on the rise. This is part two on tips of how to keep your teen and vehicles safe.

    Lock the car and pocket the keys. Don't walk away swinging them around like a tasty treat. And never leave your vehicle running unattended. This is just an open invitation to take your car. Most stolen cars were left unlocked or with the keys in the ignition!
    If you really want to warm up your car first... get a "Remote Starter" or "Automatic Starter". You can press a button to get your car running and it will run for 10 minutes and then shut off. The vehicle will remain locked and will not remain running for more than 10 minutes until you unlock the steering wheel and put the key in the ignition giving you the best of both worlds: safety and convenience.

    Don't leave valuables in plain view. Even if you cover it with a blanket in the back, do you really think they're that stupid? Another option is to put valuables in the trunk or don't leave it in the car at all!

    Park in well lit, busy areas. For your protection too! FYI-- if your young student is leaving class late and it's dark-- many colleges will urge you and would be happy to provide a security escort if the student feels it's unsafe.

    Don't leave your registration in your vehicle. Carry it with you!

    ID your things There are engraving devices to engrave your rims, sound system, etc. in case of theft.

    Thursday, January 8, 2009

    Protecting Your Teen's Vehicle in Economic Crunch - Part One

    Burglary and theft are up in these times of economic crisis. People are feeling the pressure and some are turning to crime.

    Here are some ways you can protect your vehicle and your teen's safety...

    First, install a car alarm. In a pinch, you can get one for as little as about $150 through places like Best Buy and Car Toys. Keep your eye out for their promotional sales as many of these types of business have them often.

    Put comprehensive coverage on the vehicle. In case there is a break in or if the vehicle is stolen, this will cover the vehicle-- less the deductible. Depending on how much you'd like to spend and the value of the vehicle you can go with a deductible from 100 to even 2000.

    Purchase a tracking device. LoJack has a 90% success rate at getting the vehicle back and average recovery time is 24 hours. Some insurance companies will even offer a discount. The downfall is the cost is about $600-$700 but there is no monthly fee. We also offer Teensurance powered by Safeco Insurance which retails at $169 for the device and then $19.99 per month for the tracking, however we offer it at the discounted $99 for the device and $19.99 monthly for tracking. Note: Teensurance is not just for teens and does not have to be bought by teen parents. Many people use it to track their own personal vehicles as a lower cost option to the LoJack or other tracking device.

    You are welcome to call or e-mail us if you'd like to find out more about Teensurance! 1-888-867-2866 or

    Tuesday, January 6, 2009

    WIN $500 College Bond

    By completing this survey you can win a $500 college bond.

    The deadline for the drawing is March 31st. You can only register once and it is only open to parents of teenagers 15-19.

    Go to