Thursday, November 18, 2010

AAA comes on board with teen

Parents of teens: Fear not once your young one is ready to get behind the wheel.

AAA wants to make the driving experience a little easier on parents and less confusing to teenagers. It has launched, to help parents navigate the often confusing process of teaching teens to drive and get their driver permit and license.

The interactive site helps parents and teens get state-specific rules and information on preparing to drive (pre-permit) through the learner’s permit and solo driving.

The site features AAA StartSmart, a series of online newsletters and webisodes based on the National Institutes of Health’s Checkpoints program, which helps parents improve teen driver safety and is being offered nationally for the first time. Some of the topics covered in AAA StartSmart’s 18 newsletters and webisodes include nighttime driving, distracted driving, alcohol and other drugs, and parent-teen driving agreements.

Parents will find information about Washington's graduated driver licensing system, selecting a driving school and choosing the right vehicle for their teens.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fatality statistics for teen drivers drop, here is why.

ATLANTA -- Far fewer people are dying in car crashes with teens at the wheel, but it's not because teenagers are driving more cautiously. Experts say laws are tougher, and cars and highways are safer.

Fatal car crashes involving teen drivers fell by about a third over five years, according to a new federal report that credits tougher restrictions on younger drivers.

The number of deaths tied to these accidents dropped from about 2,200 in 2004 to 1,400 in 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The CDC looked at fatal accidents involving drivers who were 16 or 17. There were more than 9,600 such incidents during the five-year span, and more than 11,000 people died, including more than 4,000 of the teen drivers and more than 3,400 of their passengers.

The report is being published in Friday's issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The rate of such fatal crashes has been declining since 1996. Experts credit a range of factors, including safer cars with air bags and highway improvements, which reduce the risk of death.

The number of non-fatal accidents involving drivers 16 and 17 years old has been dropping as well - by 31 percent from 2004 through 2008, according to government figures.

The decline is similar to the 36 percent drop in fatal crashes reported in the new CDC report.

Experts say a chief reason is that most states have been getting tougher on when teens can drive and when they can carry passengers.

"It's not that teens are becoming safer," said Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an Arlington, Va.-based research group funded by auto insurance companies.

"It's that state laws enacted in the last 15 years are taking teens out of the most hazardous driving situations," such as driving at night or with other teens in the car, he said.

Graduated driver's licensing programs, as they are called, began appearing in 1996, and 49 states now have them. Some are stricter than others, which may be one reason death rates vary by state, Rader said.

The CDC found that Wyoming had the highest death rate, with about 60 traffic fatalities involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers per 100,000 people that age. New York and New Jersey, which have rigorous driving restrictions on teens, had the lowest rates, about 10 per 100,000.

Wyoming's driver's license laws are laxer than some other states. For example, 16-year-olds are allowed to drive until 11 p.m., or in some cases even later, while other states force them off the roads starting at 9 p.m.

The author of the report, CDC epidemiologist Ruth Shults, said rural states such as Wyoming tend to have higher rates of traffic deaths. One problem is that remote stretches of road are hard to reach quickly by ambulance, and even harder to get a critically injured person to a trauma center, experts say.

Lorrie Pozarik, a consultant to Wyoming state government on traffic safety issues, said the state ranks poorly in seat-belt use. A love of pickup trucks has a lot to do with that.

"People feel like, 'I'm in a pickup, I don't need a belt,'" Pozarik said. "Our No. 1 fatal crash is a single-vehicle rollover. It happens to be the one crash where a seat belt is most effective when it comes to saving your life.

"The bottom line is that we have no perception of risk in Wyoming," Pozarik continued. "You're driving along the highway, there isn't a car in sight. You can see 10 miles in 20 directions, and you're sort of sitting back and cruising."

In New York, the driver's license restrictions can at times be annoying, said Ali Janicki, a 17-year-old high school senior in the town of North White Plains.

Janicki had a "junior" license when she was 16, which restricted her from driving after 9 p.m. and from driving with more than one other youth in the car. She broke the rules a few times, giving her sister and a friend a ride home from school, or driving home from a movie after 9.

Sometimes, she also needed a parent to drive her to nighttime parties. "It kind of bugged me," she said. "But I understand why."

She said she was nearly in an accident Thursday, but blamed another - older - driver's error. "I think older people, past about 40, should have to take a test and make sure their eyes are still working the same way," she said.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tips in Buying auto Insurance for TEEN DRIVERS

Teenagers are unfortunately the face of several statistics in the car insurance industry. The leading killer of young adults ages 15 to 20 is car crashes. Compared to adults ages 25 to 64, these young adult drivers are three times as likely to become involved in a fatal car accident. Also, the younger the driver, the more accidents are caused. Statistically, 16-year-olds have a crash rate three times as high as 19-year-olds and six times as high as drivers in their early 20s. Adding a teenage driver to your car insurance plan can more than double the cost of what you pay for your car insurance. However, there are ways that you and your teenager can lower the cost of your teenage driver’s insurance.

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1. Receiving Good Grades
Your teenager receiving a B or better grade point average can result in a discount on your auto insurance ranging from 5 percent up to as much as 25 percent. This discount stems from the studies which correlate good students with being responsible drivers. By performing well in school, your teenager is showing to your insurance company that they take responsibility seriously and will not be large risks on the road.

2. Taking Driver’s Education Courses
If your child takes a driver’s education course in high school or through a company, this can also decrease car insurance for teenagers. Although insurance companies vary on the discount amount and the course approval, the discounts can range up to 15 percent. These courses can show your teenage driver the ethics of driving and the rules of driving on the roads. The cost of car insurance for young drivers can be decreased and they will become safer drives with the help of these courses.

3. Buying a Safe Car
There are many types of cars on the market today, including small cars, trucks, sport cars, and SUVs. All of those cars are unreliable or dangerous for your teenager to drive. Small cars do not have good protection in an accident, trucks and SUVs are prone to rollovers, and sport cars can discourage safety.

To help lower your insurance rate, consider purchasing a safer car for your teenager to drive. To find a safe car to lower car insurance for teens, look for a car equipped with airbags. Airbags will help save the life of your teenager in the event of an accident, and may qualify for a premium discount on your insurance. If your car also comes with a safety alarm, this can also be eligible for a percentage off on your insurance.

4. Enlisting in Safe Driver Programs
Enlisting in a safe driver program offered by your insurer will kill two birds with one stone. The completed program will offer a discount of up to 5 percent on the insurance, as well as instructing teenagers on the perils of drinking and driving. They will learn the consequences of running red lights or stop signs as well as speeding. Even if your insurance company does not provide a decrease in your automobile insurance for teens, this will help in the future when your driver is on the road. A few speeding tickets or minor accident caused by a teenage driver can send your auto insurance through the roof. By taking this preemptive measure, you can stop the risk of that happening.

5. Driving an Older Car
Insurance companies tend to give lower rates for teenagers driving old and heavy cars. Records show that older cars are less prone to accidents and harder to drive recklessly than newer models, which can encourage customers to remove collision coverage from their insurance policies. With a safer old car and the extra fee removed, this can decrease the cost of the insurance. In addition, some companies tend to assign the most expensive insured driver—your teenage child—to the most expensive insured car. To counteract this and save money, consider buying an older car for your teenager. Even if it is not used most of the time, it will still be let you end up with lower car insurance payments.

Always compare rates between insurance companies when adding a new teenage driver to your car insurance. If another company is offering a better deal than your current insurer, it may be in your best interest to go with the new insurers. Be sure to teach your teenage driver responsibility on the road through safety courses, and your car-insurance-paying wallet will be sure to thank you.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cruise control has it's advantages but can be dangerous!

Cruise Control Driving
Cruise control can be used to automatically control the speed in your vehicle (usually over 25-35 miles per hour) without keeping your foot on the accelerator. It is a great tool to prevent driver fatigue, speeding, and help with fuel economy during long trips on flat, straight roads and highways. Cruise control can cause accidents if you use it improperly or in hazardous road conditions such as city streets, heavy traffic, hills, winding roads, and wet, slippery roads.

Controlling the speed of your car with your fingertips on cruise control lets you take your foot off the accelerator and rest, but remember, you still control the vehicle steering and braking. Stay alert while you drive. Fatigue and a false sense of security can lead to a lack of attention and an accident. Keep your brain engaged in your driving; scan the road ahead for traffic, obstacles, and changing road conditions.

Read your vehicle owner’s manual on safely operating the cruise control for your vehicle. Heed manufacturer’s warnings about cruise control use. Leave the cruise control button off unless you intend to use it. If you accidentally activate cruise control, it could startle you into losing control of the vehicle.

Set your cruise control speed at a legal, safe speed for the road and the current driving conditions. Always wear your seatbelt. During cruise control, your foot may take a rest from the accelerator, but keep both feet flat on the driver’s side floor and ready for braking or maneuvering if you need to suddenly slow or emergency stop. Don’t lounge, curl your foot up underneath you, or put it up on the dashboard, windowsill, etc. while you drive.

Don’t use your cruise control when the road is wet and slippery due to heavy rain, hail, snow, ice, or other conditions. If your wheels begin to skid and you don’t step on the brake to stop, the continued acceleration can cause you to overdrive the road conditions and lose wheel traction and control of the vehicle. If you do step on the brake to stop, slow, or even turn off the cruise control, the change in tire speed can also cause the wheels to slip, lose traction and skid out of control. If there is heavy rainfall, water puddles, and a slippery road surface, hydroplaning and serious accidents can occur.

Note that vehicles equipped with Electronic Stability Control can alter the wheel speed for better traction, but read the owner’s manual to see if cruise control is safe in slippery road conditions.

Cruise control on hills and winding roads can be hazardous. On hills, it is best to manually control your speed using the accelerator and brake. Cruise control may not accelerate your vehicle properly up a hill, making you a slow-moving hazard. A steep downhill grade can cause your vehicle to speed up faster than the cruise control setting and safe road speeds. Watch your speedometer and manually accelerate and brake as needed. On twisting and winding roads, brake and accelerate into and out of the turns. With cruise control on, you could approach a turn at an unsafe speed and lose control.

Using cruise control in traffic and on city streets with lights and stop signs can be tedious, frustrating, and unsafe. In these situations, you need to reset your cruise control each time you brake and it is unlikely you would be driving at the minimum speeds needed for cruise control. It is best to manually control your vehicle in traffic and city streets and leave cruise control for long journeys on dry, straight, and wide-open highways.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

A mother's loss

Every so often it is good to get a dose of reality, this touched our hearts and souls. Please read and learn. Our blessings to Barbara Andrews and family and we pass along your story to our readers.

Barbara Andrews lost her daughter, Kimberly, in an SUV crash with another teen driving on June 12, 2002. Barbara now speaks to high school defensive driving classes in the hopes that this moving story will impress other teens with the need to drive safely and think about consequences of their actions ... and so that Kimberly's tragic death will not have been in vain.

You may also want to visit Kimberly's web site at to learn more about Barabara, Kimberly and the entire Andrews family.
You can also hear Barbara's interview with us by clicking here.
[Windows Media Player video. Click to play, or right-click to Save As...]


If you were to pass me in the halls or on the street, you would see that I am smiling; I am laughing; I am going about my day to day commitments and living my life. Things must be going well – no worries, no stress. That’s how it looks to the world outside. But, I feel invisible. Don’t they know, can’t they tell, can anyone see my pain…

I am a bereaved parent – that is the term they use. It doesn’t really represent who I am. I am a wife, a mother of 3, a professional. I am a parent who lost a part of myself almost 5 years ago, when my oldest, my only daughter was killed in a car accident. She was a passenger in an SUV. With the blink of an eye, our lives were turned upside down, inside out – never to be the same. The death of your child, no matter the circumstance, is devastating. Your future is changed forever. It is not the natural order of things.

As a parent, there is guilt and regret. You question your parenting and your sanity. You relive that day, those hours, over & over again. Your mind play tricks on you – if only this or that had occurred, the outcome would be different. No matter what you think, what you wish for, the outcome is the same – your precious child is dead – and you and your family must find a way to go on with your lives without them. So much easier said then done.

Yes, I am smiling, I am laughing and I am going about my day to day commitments and living my life. I have to. My husband and sons need me. I can’t help my Kimberly anymore.

Today, with a heavy heart, I am here to walk you through a few days of my family’s life. Similar to most family’s, but with an outcome I would not wish upon anyone.

My story is about decisions, actions and choices – ones that don’t provide a second chance. The message I want you to take home today is this: Always think about how your choices and decisions will impact you, your family and your friends. Can the consequences be life altering or even life ending? Remember, it CAN happen to you.

Friday, May 10, 2002 – Tonight is prom night. Kimberly is a junior at Pope High School. Even though Kimberly is not interested in going to prom, her friend Brett talks her into it. The afternoon and evening is filled with prom pictures at the house, dinner, prom and a get together at our house afterwards.

Sunday, May 12th – It is Mother’s Day and Kimberly 17th birthday. The day is extra special because Kimberly was born on Mother’s day! Kimberly chooses her favorite Chinese restaurant for dinner instead of her usual birthday dinner at her favorite Italian restaurant. After an early dinner, she meets up with friends.

The next 4 weeks are filled with end of school activities and exams. Kimberly plans on working full time this summer to pay on her car, insurance and save for school. She plans on graduating in December, so she can get a jump on her core classes. She is planning on becoming a teacher and can’t wait to move to the next stage of her life. The only reason she is staying is to be the Head Wrestling Manager her senior year.

Wednesday, June 12th, starts out as a typical summer’s day. Kimberly called me about 10 am that morning to ask if she could spend the night out at her friend Gina’s house. After some discussion, I agreed, only if she stayed home that weekend and spent some time with the family. Tyler had a baseball tournament that started that night and lasted through the weekend. Little did we know that as we sat watching Tyler play baseball, our daughter was dying.

Kimberly worked that day at Kroger. What we didn’t know is that she got off early (around 5 pm) and planned to head to the lake for the evening with friends. She didn’t have our permission. It turns out most of the kids in the caravan were kids we didn’t know – with the exception of about 3 who we had met a couple of times. We found out later that a lot of Kimberly’s friends knew where she was going – they had been invited too but couldn’t go for various reasons. Why did Kimberly lie to us?

There are a lot of things that happened between 5 and 8:41 that we will never know. There are several different versions of the story. Here is what we understand:

■Four cars of kids left for Lake Arrowhead around 6:30 pm, Kimberly’s Honda Civic, a Toyota Forerunner, a red car, and one other. Some of the kids planned on spending the night, others were planning on driving home later in the evening. Most parents did not know where their teenagers were headed.
■Kimberly’s car broke down and the kids “hung out” on 575 for about an hour deciding what to do. An officer stopped and asked them to move along as they were creating a disturbance on the highway.
Several kids went to get oil for Kimberly’s car – which did not help the engine to start.
■Everyone hopped into cars and headed for the lake, leaving Kimberly’s car behind. What was the plan? Kimberly was a control freak, why did she leave her car? I have been told that Kimberly’s “choice” of cars to get into was based on the fact that the red car’s occupants were smoking dope and that she chose the SUV for that reason.
■When Kimberly’s car broke down that evening (the engine locked because it had run out of oil apparently) she only had one thing in mind – I’m going to have fun with my friends. I wonder if she ever thought of calling us. She certainly had plenty of time. Kimberly always kept in touch – and knew we would help her out that night. She also probably knew that she would be in trouble – she was not where she was supposed to be. I am sure that was not the 1st time, unfortunately it was the last time. If only she had called us….
The car accident occurred at 8:41 pm, just a minute or two after she got in the other car. The first officer on the scene was the same officer that had asked them to “move along” a short time before.

Kimberly died instantly. She had multiple skull fractures, a broken nose and broken legs. Where she was sitting in the car took the brunt of the impact. Kimberly had the lap belt of the seat belt on, but when it hit the tree, the impact caused her seat to break so it was as if she had nothing to hold her in. The police don’t believe that having had the shoulder belt on would have helped save her. Why did she have to die?

The driver of the Toyota Forerunner saw something out of the corner of her eye, which caused her to swerve. Because of her lack of experience in driving an SUV, she overcorrected when her car started to go off the road. The car flipped over with the over correction, hit a tree, and then flipped on its side (Kimberly’s side) and hit the second tree. The impact of hitting the 3rd tree stopped the car – 2 dead, 4 injured, and many lives shattered forever. Kimberly was very particular about whom she drove with, yet this time she got in the car with someone she barely knew.

Kimberly’s injuries were so severe they wouldn’t let me see her. I never got to hug or kiss her goodbye. Why did this happen to her – she was so full of life and knew exactly what she wanted out of life? Her two brothers adore her and look up to her. These past 5 years have been very difficult for them, living without their big sister. We are a very close family, and it is very obvious as we set the dinner table for 4 instead of 5. Family pictures will never include my whole family again.

We didn’t get called until 11:50 pm that night, by the driver of the red car – her sister was in the car with Kimberly – that is how she knew about the accident. She also knew that one of the boys in the car was dead. His parents had been notified around 11 pm. Since we had not been notified of her whereabouts, I tried to call Grady Hospital where 2 of the kids had been taken. We found out later that her wallet was in the red car so the police didn’t know who she was. Remember her choice in car? I couldn’t get through, so Jay and I got Josh & Tyler out of bed and jumped in the car. We had to find Kimberly!

We started making phone calls to find her and find out where the accident had occurred as we were driving out of our subdivision. Eventually we were transferred to the Canton Police who recommended we go home. At that time they realized who we were and didn’t want to tell us over the phone. After going home and trying Grady and North Fulton Hospitals again and again, we called the Canton Police back. At that time we were told an officer was on the way to our house. As her brothers cried and prayed for her safety, her dad and I knew – but we still kept up hope for the boys and for ourselves. How can we comprehend the fact that our daughter was dead?

At 1:15 am on 6/13, a Canton policeman (the same officer who stopped on the side of the road and arrived at the scene of the accident) arrived at our home to tell us that our daughter did not suffer and was not coming home. He then began calling family and friends, so we wouldn’t be alone. By 3 am, our house was full of people trying to comprehend this tragedy. Most of it is a blur to me.

There are parts of the whole summer I still can’t fully remember – a sure sign that you are in shock. As Josh said to me one day, Mommy why did this have to happen to our family? That is a question I will never be able to answer.

If only she hadn’t lied, if only she’d called us. If only she didn’t get off work early. The “if onlys” go on for many weeks until you realize you are driving yourself crazy. The “if onlys” won’t bring Kimberly back. We also keep asking “Why”? Why did Kimberly die? Why did she not call? Why did she lie? How many other times did she lie to us? Why did we let her go out that night? Why didn’t her friends keep her from going that day? Answers we will never have. Questions continue to keep us up at night. The choices Kimberly made that day seemed innocent and harmless at the time.

Kimberly was a loving daughter, involved teenager, a great big sister and a hard worker. She had worked at Kroger since she was 15, did parties at Sports-a-rama, bought her own car, and paid her own insurance.

We loved Kimberly with all of our hearts. Kimberly was a good kid who cared about others and had a purpose in life. She offered so much to so many people in her short life. This became obvious to us as the nearly a thousand people came to pay their last respects at her funeral and with the hundreds of cards and letters we received. This was quite overwhelming to us, but brought us great comfort. A friend created a web site in her memory that people still write messages on. Two scholarships have been established in her memory (one for wrestling and one for aspiring teachers). The Pope Junior Wrestling Tournament was renamed to the Kim Andrews Classic. Jay and I had a memorial made with a poem Kimberly had written. It is in the front of the administration building at Pope.

Kimberly didn’t graduate from Pope – the graduation sign in the neighborhood said “In Memory Of” next to her name. The impact of her death is indescribable. There is emptiness in our lives that will never go away.

Never again will I enjoy a late night talk with Kimberly – those “mother/daughter till 1 am” talks. Never again will she be in the stands cheering Josh and Tyler on. Never again will her dad coach her in softball. The “firsts” don’t end when the 1st anniversary of your child’s death occurs. They go on forever. There is a knot in my chest every time someone asks me how many children I have – 3, I answer. It is the next question that is difficult – how old are they? Josh & Tyler are easy. It is always difficult to say that my daughter is forever 17. Both boys “age her”. If someone asks them about their family, they say they have a sister who is 22. The reality is that Josh, who is 16, and Tyler who is 14 will pass her in age very soon. No longer will I be able to say “When Kimberly was your age”.

Both boys ask questions and try to remember their sister. They were only 9 and 11 at the time. Josh is the one who realizes he will now be the first to go to college and wasn’t able to visit his older sister at school like his friends have been able to. He understands our apprehension of him driving and that he is not allowed in the car with another teenager!

Tyler has written several stories about Kimberly titled “My Hero”. “As I look back on my life and I think of a person who is a hero, I think of one person…my sister. My sister Kimberly showed me what a hero is. Kimberly was always supportive by being at my matches or games to cheer me on. As I was about to step onto the wrestling mat or the baseball diamond, I would get letters of encouragement from her. They made me want to do my best. There was never a time when she missed a game of mine. Kimberly was my cheerleader. Kimberly was a very loving person. She taught me how to care for someone. In her mind, family and friendship were number one. If I needed help, she would be there to help. I was inspired by the way she would always be helping someone in time of need. She made me feel like I was her number one priority. There was never a time when I don’t think about how she impacted my life. I just wish she were here to help me through the rest of my life”.

We miss her infectious laugh, her beautiful smile, her love, her stubbornness, her presence – everything about her!

Somehow, I still don’t know how, we have survived this devastating loss. We continue to take things one day at a time. Our perspective on what is important in life has changed. We don’t sweat the small stuff.

Kimberly was supposed to have enjoyed her senior year in high school, date, graduate from college, teach, get married, have children of her own, and be an example for her brothers. Kimberly and I were supposed to get through the hard part and be grownup friends. Kimberly used to always say, “Mom let me make my mistakes”. My answer to her was “My job as a parent is to keep you from making those life altering mistakes”. In my head, I know there was nothing I could have done to prevent this; in my heart I will always feel that I failed Kimberly by not protecting her. It wasn’t supposed to happen to Kimberly either!

■There were no drugs or alcohol involved in this accident.
■There was no speeding involved in this accident.
■No one was charged in this accident.
■There was a driver with little to no experience in driving an SUV.
■There was an SUV that flips with added weight and over correction.
Four families have gone on with their lives. Two families continue grieving.

You NEVER get over the loss of a child…I miss Kimberly every minute of every day.

As parents, we spend a lot of time making sure our children are making the right choices. We talk to you about drugs, alcohol and sex. We provide you with cell phones so you are just a phone call away. We want to meet your friends and your friends’ parents. We gain a false sense of security with our “good” kids. Car accidents only happen to “bad” kids making wrong choices, right?

Next time you get in a car, ask yourself these questions:

■Do I know if they drive responsibly?
■Am I “allowed” to be in the car with this person, either as the driver or a passenger?
■Am I where I am supposed to be – and if not, what if my parents found out – would they be proud of my decision?
■Is a friend lying for me – what would my family’s reaction be if they found out – especially if something bad happened to me?
■Am I or the person who is driving – distracted, too tired to be behind the wheel, driving too fast, or driving recklessly?
■Am I responsible enough to take the keys away from a friend, because they are not capable of driving?
The answers to these questions and your split second decision could be the difference between life and death.

I know most of you are here today because your parents made you come to this. I hope my story makes you realize that it is because they love you. Don’t make your family go through what Jay, Josh, Tyler and I live with every day and forever.

If I can get through to you, Kimberly’s death will not have been in vain. Remember Kimberly and all of the others like her. Please be mature and drive safely and wisely.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Buying a Car 101

How to Find the Perfect Car for You
By Art Corvelay , eHow Contributor

Purchasing a car can be a big decision for many people because it often involves a large monetary investment. Although the absolute perfect car may not exist, there are some steps you can take to find the perfect car for you. This article will walk you through some car-buying tips that will help you find the right car for your needs.

Determine how your car will fit your lifestyle. The most important thing is to think about how you will use your car, and not what kind of car you wish to have. Many of us wish to drive fast sports cars, but these may not be the best fit for our lifestyles. If you have three children and need a car that will accommodate you and your children, you may want to choose a mini-van or SUV. However, if you will be the only one using your car, you may want to think about a compact car.

Determine your price range. This step is essential, as it will narrow your search dramatically. Think about how much you would like to spend and make sure you set a price cap. That is, set a ceiling for the highest you would be willing to pay and do not plan to exceed this ceiling.

Think about your values and how they might be impacted by the car you purchase. If you value environmentally-friendly cars, you may want to search for a hybrid vehicle. Further, if buying an American-made car is important to you, you can easily narrow your search by looking for only American-made cars.

Begin searching for your perfect car. Once you have thought about your lifestyle needs and what you value in a car, you can start searching for your perfect car. The easiest way to do this is to start on the internet. You can utilize websites like that allow you to search for cars that fit your requirements. You can get a feel for the general market and pricing of cars you may be interested in.

Visit the actual car manufacturer's website if you have narrowed your search and chosen a manufacturer. For example, if you are interested in a Toyota, visit the Toyota website. You can visit the website to check out various colors and options that are offered for each make and model. Often times, there may be deals via the web that may not be announced at the actual dealership.

Contact a local dealer Once you have browsed a website like or manufacturer's websites, you can contact and visit local dealers to find out what cars they may have in stock.

Consider superficial options like color and interior at the dealership. These may differ from the options you viewed online depending on the stock of cars a dealership has. Do not let these options be deal-breakers if you have found an ideal car.

Make an offer. It is true that you can bargain with car dealers, depending on the dealership, of course. Think about your price cap and make a reasonable offer on the car you want to purchase. The most important thing is to not get too attached to a car. If the car price exceeds your ceiling, do not be afraid to walk away.
Check with your Insurance Agent before the purchase to see what you are adding to your monthly expenses. Insurance price varies with type, year age of the car, safety record, cost to fix etc.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I want to introduce all of our fellow bloggers to a web site called is particularly user friendly to our teen drivers.

It includes such information on how to parallel park, tips on how to drive in bad weather, out in the country, around school and in cities. It gives tips on how to purchase insurance, buying a used car and many other advice sections for the young driver.

It is very well done and young drivers can become subscribers by logging on to the web site.

There is also a parents center for parents to get good sound advice.

All of this comes down to continuing to keep dialog going with our young drivers to keep them safe on the road. Let's try and reduce the tragic fatalities experienced by our young drivers.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More facts on Teen drivers fatalities

CHICAGO — Car crashes are the leading cause of death for tweens and teens, and a new study outlines some of the most dangerous circumstances: riding unbuckled with new teen drivers on high-speed roads.

These were the three biggest risk factors contributing to car crash deaths for passengers aged 8 to 17, the study found.

While young drivers have higher chances of dying, the six-year study focused on nearly 10,000 children passengers who were killed in car crashes. More than half — 54 percent — were riding with a teen driver. Drivers younger than 16 were the most dangerous.

Also, more than three-quarters of the fatal crashes occurred on roads with speed limits higher than 45 mph, and nearly two-thirds of the young passengers were not wearing seat belts, the researchers found.

Other dangerous circumstances for young passengers included drivers who’d been drinking alcohol, male teen drivers, and driving on weekends.

The message for parents is simple and sobering: Don’t let your teen ride with a teen driver who has less than a year’s experience driving. Insist on seat belts. And practice ways teens can resist peer pressure to ride with other teens, said Dr. Flaura Koplin Winston of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the study’s lead author.

“Knowing the risks can help parents and teens make smart decisions about which rides are safe, and which ones are off limits,” said Winston, the founder of the hospital’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention.

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The researchers examined national data on serious car crashes including those resulting in death between 2000 and 2005. During that time, 2.5 million children aged 8 to 17 were involved in crashes and 9,807 died.

Risk of death is double if driver is a teen
The risk of death for kids riding with drivers aged 16 to 19 was at least double that of those riding with drivers aged 25 and older. There were about two deaths per 1,000 crashes for young passengers with 25-plus drivers, versus more than four deaths in the younger group.

The study, conducted with State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., appears in the March edition of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. State Farm funded the research.

Recent federal data indicate that the percentage of U.S. 16-year-olds with driver’s licenses has fallen since 1998 (from roughly 44 percent to about 30 percent), during a time when restrictions on teen driving generally increased.

But no states have all the restrictions recommended by State Farm, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Philadelphia hospital.

For example, they say the minimum age for a learner’s permits should be 16. But nine states grant them to 14-year-olds and at least 30 others give them to 15-year-olds. Also, the groups say drivers younger than 18 should not be allowed to have more than one teen passenger without adult supervision, but only 34 states have that restriction, according to data provided by the hospital and State Farm.

Rosie Jermakian, a Bethesda, Md., 16-year-old, said the study results hit home, particularly because of a recent spate of teen car crashes in the Washington, D.C. area, including one that involved a friend. Rosie’s stepmother does research at the Philadelphia hospital but was not involved in the study.

“Teen drivers don’t always think,” said Rosie, who has a learner’s permit and hopes to get her license soon. “Sometimes they think they’re just in this little bubble where they can’t get hurt and they don’t really think of the consequences.”

Winston, the study author, said that means teen passengers and their parents have to take precautions, and the Jermakian family does.

“I’ve told her flat out, in regard to some of her friends who I don’t believe have been well taught in these areas, that she is not to get in a car with them driving,” said Joel Jermakian, Rosie’s father.

Her parents also have told her to call them for a ride if she ever faces a potentially dangerous driving situation.

Jermakian said the study “reminds us that in raising teens, constant dialogue about all these kinds of things is important.”

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Driving and using the cell phone irrestible? New technology could take away temptation!

SEATTLE -- Asked if the statewide texting-while-driving ban is really working, drivers out there compare it to speeding -- yes, they know what the law says, but many are just finding ways to conceal their activity around police.

"I see the law working a little bit, but there's still a lot of people texting and talking," said driver Martin Cooper.

"You can look both sides of you, you're guaranteed to see people on the phone," said truck driver Whitney Howatt.

"You'll get the people who'll palm their phone," said driver Michael Lombardy.

Now, one local inventor wants lawmakers to require phones in view of the driver to automatically disable when the car is running.

"They were talking a lot about 'Let's just pass laws so the police will look in drivers' windows to see what they're doing with their hands and eyes,'" said Jeff Haley, who is also a patent attorney. "And I thought, there ought to be a technical solution."

Haley said the technology he's touting already exists in one form or another. In February, he and colleague Mike Robinson formed the Seattle-based Distracted Driving Foundation (

"We believe that government, through state or federal legislation, should require phone companies to use available and new technology to restrict the functions of handheld electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle for any use other than important voice calls, without limiting use by passengers," the foundation's website states.

Haley said for many, the urge to read a text message or e-mail is irresistible. He believes restrictions embedded in the phones would take the human element out of the equation. He compared it to railroad crossings, put in place to restrict drivers for their own safety.

The foundation has contacted several companies that already make software to put phones in "driving mode" when they sense they're moving more than 15 miles per hour.

Callers are greeted with an automatic voice message: "The person you have called is driving and cannot take your call."

The key is to make the technology recognize when people are in the passenger seat or some form of public transportation, as well as when the driver is using their Bluetooth hands-free device.

Haley said they have a handful of Washington state lawmakers who have signed on to help get wireless carriers on board, and get a bill before the legislature in the next session. For now, they're looking to require phone restrictions on teen drivers, with an eventual goal of all drivers in the United States, and beyond. They're also seeking funding for the non-profit foundation.

John Walls, vice president of public affairs for the CTIA, a group that represents the wireless industry, did list two concerns. He said any such technology cannot be interference-based, since federal law prohibits any blocking of cell phone signal transmissions.

"But if it's embedded in the handset or the network... The overall concept we are completely behind," he said.

Walls' other concern was that any law favoring one technology over another would "start boxing yourself into the corner, because you may squelch [the best technology's] development through that law," he said.

"We would probably have some discussion and take a long look at that," he added.

A 2009 study by Virginia Tech researchers videotaping millions of hours of eye movements of drivers found that texting while driving made the risk of a crash or near-crash more than 23 times more likely than non-distracted driving.

While drivers agree distracted driving is dangerous, they have mixed feelings about this "technical solution."

"That would probably actually be the point where people won't be on their phone, because they won't be able to," Howatt said.

"I don't know about that one, the phone calls still need to come through," said Lombardy. "It's up to the individual person to make the choice."

Distracted Driving Foundation:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

GDL Laws (Graduated Licensing Laws) are beginning to show promise and are effective

GDL Laws (Graduated Licensing Laws) are beginning to show promise and are effective

■A May 2010 Government Accountability Office (GAO) study on teen driver safety concluded that additional research could help states strengthen their graduated licensing systems (GDL). Existing research shows that GDL laws are associated with lower teen fatalities but because limited research has been conducted on the optimum provisions of these laws, states might be missing opportunities to strengthen their programs. The GAO recommends that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conduct additional research on minimum age requirements, nighttime and passenger restrictions, the effect of bans on electronic devices, driver education and parental involvement. The report also acknowledged that currently no grant program specifically targets teens and no federal law exists requiring states to meet licensing requirements or standards.

■The Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act of 2010 ( S.3269, STAND UP) was introduced in the Senate in April 2010 by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The Act contains minimum requirements such as enacting a two-stage licensing system, including a learners permit phase to begin at age 16 and lasting at least six months. It would prohibit night driving and cellphone use in non-emergency situations. The second, intermediate stage would include the restrictions from the first stage and ban more than one non-family passenger. This stage would last until age 18 The bill also includes provisions for incentive grants to states that enact the law within three years and for highway fund withholding during the fourth year if states do not meet the minimum requirements
Labels: age, auto insurance savings tips

Thursday, July 8, 2010

.Lack of Sleep and the teen Driver

WEDNESDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Starting the school day earlier may lead to more car accidents involving teenagers, new research suggests.

The study, which looked at schools in two cities in Virginia with different start times, found an association between earlier classes and more crashes among sleep-deprived students.

"Teenagers need over nine hours sleep a night, and it looks like a large number of teens don't get sufficient sleep... part of that relates to the time that high schools begin," said study author Dr. Robert Vorona, an associate professor of internal medicine in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va.

The findings were to be presented Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Societies, in San Antonio.

"There are data that demonstrate that lack of sleep has negative consequences for teens," he said. "And some data show that younger drivers are more likely to have crashes when they have inadequate sleep."

The study compared crash rates in 2008 for high school students with widely varying school starting times in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, two adjacent cities with similar demographics. Virginia Beach's classes started at 7:20 a.m.; Chesapeake's began at 8:40 a.m.

While the overall accident rate for all drivers was higher in Virginia Beach, the difference between teens in the two cities was stark, Vorona said. Chesapeake had 46.2 crashes for every 1,000 teen drivers, compared to 65.4 per 1,000 teen drivers in Virginia Beach -- a 41 percent difference.

The statistics are significant, Vorona said, even though they did not prove a direct relationship between school starting times and roadway safety.

"We think the Virginia Beach students may be sleep-deprived," said Vorona, "and that is perhaps the reason for the increased crashes."

Vorona said that the amount of sleep teens get largely depends on what time they get up in the morning.

"They tend to go to bed later no matter what time they get up," said Vorona. Other research shows teens who start school later get more sleep.

He recommended high schools look at starting the day later.

Beyond the impact on driving, early start times probably affect other important areas, Vorona said, calling for research on how they affect teenagers' moods, tardiness and academic performance.

"If you think about something like calculus, we're asking teens to perform complicated mental functions when their minds are probably not fully alert yet," he said.

Dr. Barbara Phillips, of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, agreed.

Teens are "biologically programmed" to get sleepy and wake up later than adults, said Phillips, a professor with the school's division of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. "They truly can't help it. They're just not going to get sleepy at 10 p.m., so it's hard for them to get the eight to 10 hours of sleep they need to get when they have to catch the 7:30 bus."

Phillips is co-author of a study that compared car crash rates and increased sleep for adolescent drivers in Lexington, Ky., when the school district instituted a later school day in 1998. Data were analyzed from the two years before and after the change.

The study found that when teens increased their sleep, crash rates declined 16.5 percent during a period when teen crash rates throughout the state increased by 7.8 percent.

"Younger, inexperienced drivers don't fare well with additional handicaps such as impaired alertness caused by having to get up earlier than is natural for them," said Phillips. She noted that schools often resist starting the school day later because it affects bus schedules, sports and other after-school activities.

"Changing high school start times is important and difficult," she said. "It can't happen without commitment and work on the part of parents and school officials. Teens are not in a position to set their schedules. We need to help them."

Friday, June 18, 2010

Teen Drivers Contracts

It is always a good idea to have clear rules and understanding when it comes to your teenager's first time behind the wheel. Here are a few helpful hints and ideas to help you start things off right.

Teen Driver contracts
When teens negotiate their own set of car keys, parents worry that they’ve said goodbye to all control. It’s true that teens experience a new sense of freedom when they get their licenses. But they often don’t understand the responsibilities that come with the privilege. Parents can help by drawing up a driving contract, before turning over the keys, that clearly states the family rules as well as the consequences for breaking them. A contract should address safety, good driving skills, and particular situations in the following areas:

The car

Parents should make decisions on the following car related items and add them to the contract.

•Which car(s) the teen is allowed to drive: The car should have a driver’s side airbag, a good safety rating, and be easy to maneuver

•Car care—including putting gas into the car, oil changes, tire pressure, and regular maintenance requirements

•Car clutter—keeping the car clean inside and out and free of trash

•Paying for insurance. Insurance rates for teens are often twice the ones for adults over twenty five—and for good reason. Teens have an average of three accidents between 16 and 20. Some parents find that having their teens pay the insurance costs with their part time jobs provides some incentive for avoiding reckless onroad behavior that often results in accidents. Insurance rates will rise sharply with each accident—sometimes costing thousands of dollars per year.


The contract should also stress safe driving practices, including:

•Always obeying the speed limit and traffic laws

•Always wearing seat belts and making sure that all passengers are buckled up before driving

•No drinking/drug use—Parents should always be vigilant in watching for signs of alcohol or drug use by their teens and talk to their teens and seek professional help if they find indications. Driving while impaired is one of the leading causes of fatality in vehicle crashes—and the numbers are unfortunately on the rise in the last few years. The contract should state that teens are not allowed to drink and drive, have alcohol in the car, or even be a passenger in a car with a driver who has been drinking or using drugs. Assure your teen that they can always call you to come get them if they get stranded at a gathering.

•Not driving with friends in the car. We suggest that teens not be allowed to drive with friends or even younger siblings in the car for the first six to twelve months of having their license unless an adult is also in the car. Many states have instituted graduated licensing programs that also have this limitation. Distractions are one of the main causes of accidents for new drivers. And trying to keep track of conversations, playing around, or trying to act cool could lead to a crash.

• Not using cell phones or texting while driving.
•·New drivers should let parents know where they are going and when they plan to return.

•Curfews. Night driving is especially difficult for a new driver and more accidents happen in the 9:00 p.m.-2:00 A.M. timeframe than during the daylight hours. Set realistic curfews, but also tell teens that if they are running late, it’s always better to drive safely than speed to make up the minutes—and to call you if possible to let you know they are on the way home.


The contract should specify what happens if the rules are broken. It’s a good idea to get your teen’s input on appropriate penalties. For example, a speeding ticket might result in the loss of driving privilege for a week and having to pay for the ticket.

The following is a sample contract that parents can modify by adding their own consequences to meet their needs.

Driving Contract

I __________________________, agree to the terms of this contract allowing me the privilege of driving my

own car or family vehicles If, at any time, I violate this agreement, the driving privilege will be forfeited to the extent and degree of violation.

1. I will obey all traffic laws and the posted speed limits and follow safe driving practices at all times.

2. I will not drink and drive, or use drugs and drive and will not have any liquor or beer or illegal drugs in the car at any time.

3. Should I get a traffic violation ticket, I agree to pay for the ticket as well as the difference in the insurance premium for as long as the premium is in effect.

4. I agree to pay for damages that I incur not covered by insurance including all deductibles.

5. I will never transport more than ______ passengers in the car and will not drive the car until all passengers have buckled up. For the first six months, I will not drive friends and siblings in the car unless an adult is present.

6. I will keep the car that I drive clean, inside and out take care of gas, oil, and maintenance requirements.

7. I will inform my parents about where I am driving, when I plan to return, and if I will be late coming home.

8. I will not make calls or text on my cell phone while driving.


• I agree to pay for car insurance.

• I am allowed to drive the following family cars: list car or cars.

• My curfew for night driving is 10:00 p.m.

I have read the above agreement and do sign this in accordance with the rules.

Signed by Teen and Parents on the specific date.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Big boring and slow, the best choice for your teen driver!

What cars and features are the best for teen drivers? Read below.

Big, boring and slow. That's the formula for teenage drivers, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit that analyzes auto safety and driving issues. • "The vehicle choice for teens is especially crucial because of their higher risk of getting into a crash," said Russ Rader, the institute's spokesman.

The highway safety institute agreed with many of the findings of Consumer Reports, which recently issued its list of the best cars for teen drivers and emphasized the importance of the electronic stability control safety feature.

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, said Jim Travers, the magazine's associate autos editor.

The feature will be required on 2012 model-year vehicles, Travers said.

According to the highway safety institute, electronic stability control reduces the risk of fatal single-vehicle crashes by 50 percent and fatal multiple vehicle crashes by 19 percent. Moreover, it slashes the potential for fatal vehicle rollover accidents in cars and SUVs by at least 72 percent.

Consumer Reports and the institute both said teen drivers need vehicles with as many safety features as possible, including antilock brakes and curtain air bags.

The crash risk is four times as high for 16- to 19-year-olds as for older drivers, per mile driven, according to the institute. At age 16, the crash rate is double what it is for 18- to 19-year-olds, it said.

A small, lightweight car is not a good vehicle for a teen driver, Rader said.

Consumer Reports is more lenient and has some small cars, including the Hyundai Elantra and the Mazda 3, among its recommendations.

The magazine suggests that teens drive late-model or new vehicles, which are more likely to have safety features and less likely to break down.

Its recommendations for larger vehicles include the Acura TSX, Honda Accord, Kia Optima, Toyota Prius and Volkswagen Jetta. Travers acknowledged that some of these might be outside of a family's budget for teen transportation and recommended used conservative sedans with as many safety features as possible.

Both organizations suggest that parents should avoid SUVs and pickup trucks because of their high center of gravity and added rollover risk. They recommend staying away from performance and sports cars.

"The main issue with teens in general is that they overestimate their skills and underestimate their risks. Teens have a penchant for taking risks behind the wheel. They are more likely to speed, more likely to tailgate and they are less likely to wear their seat belts," Rader said.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Official statistics from the CDC

Many times people are unsure about the sources used to obtain statistics, so we thought we would use the stats from one of the country's big guns, the Center for Disease Control(CDC). The facts are sobering and we continue to ask all you parents to be tough. The facts are sobering.

Teen Drivers: Fact Sheet
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three deaths in this age group.1 In 2008, nine teens ages 16 to 19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries. Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to crash. Fortunately, teen motor vehicle crashes are preventable, and proven strategies can improve the safety of young drivers on the road.

How big is the problem?
In 2008, about 3,500 teens in the United States aged 15–19 were killed and more than 350,000 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor-vehicle crashes.1,2

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) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among females.3

Who is most at risk?
The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16- to 19-year-olds than among any other age group. In fact, per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to crash.4

Among teen drivers, those at especially high risk for motor vehicle crashes are:

•Males: In 2006, the motor vehicle death rate for male drivers and passengers ages 15 to 19 was almost two times that of their female counterparts.1
•Teens driving with teen passengers: The presence of teen passengers increases the crash risk of unsupervised teen drivers. This risk increases with the number of teen passengers.5
•Newly licensed teens: Crash risk is particularly high during the first year that teenagers are eligible to drive.4
What factors put teen drivers at risk?
•Teens are more likely than older drivers to underestimate dangerous situations or not be able to recognize hazardous situations.6
•Teens are more likely than older drivers to speed and allow shorter headways (the distance from the front of one vehicle to the front of the next). The presence of male teenage passengers increases the likelihood of this risky driving behavior.7
•Among male drivers between 15 and 20 years of age who were involved in fatal crashes in 2005, 37% were speeding at the time of the crash and 26% had been drinking.8,9
•Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use. In 2005, 10% of high school students reported they rarely or never wear seat belts when riding with someone else.10
•Male high school students (12.5%) were more likely than female students (7.8%) to rarely or never wear seat belts.10
•African-American students (12%) and Hispanic students (13%) were more likely than white students (10.1%) to rarely or never wear seat belts.10
•At all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the risk of involvement in a motor vehicle crash is greater for teens than for older drivers.10
•In 2008, 25% of drivers ages 15 to 20 who died in motor vehicle crashes had a BAC of 0.08 g/dl or higher.10
•In a national survey conducted in 2007, nearly three out of ten teens reported that, within the previous month, they had ridden with a driver who had been drinking alcohol. One in ten reported having driven after drinking alcohol within the same one-month period.10
•In 2008, nearly three out of every four teen drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes after drinking and driving were not wearing a seat belt.10
•In 2008, half of teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes occurred between 3 p.m. and midnight and 56% occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.10
How can deaths and injuries resulting from crashes involving teen drivers be prevented?
There are proven methods to helping teens become safer drivers. Research suggests that the most comprehensive graduated drivers licensing (GDL) programs are associated with reductions of 38% and 40% in fatal and injury crashes, respectively, among 16-year-old drivers.1

Graduated driver licensing (GDL) systems are designed to delay full licensure while allowing teens to get their initial driving experience under low-risk conditions. For more information about GDL systems, see Teens Behind the Wheel: Graduated Drivers Licensing.

When parents know their state’s GDL laws, they can help enforce the laws and, in effect, help keep their teen drivers safe.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Teen drivers need tough love, be a parent, not a pal!

For those of us who have young drivers in the household, this article is compelling and well worth reading. We have all heard much of what Ms. Ziegler is conveying in her article, but are we doing the hard part? Are we putting it into practice?

By Suzanne Ziegler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
The list of advice for parents of teen drivers is long. Have a firm stance against alcohol, always know the other kids they're out with, don't let them drive with a car full of teens, have firm rules and expectations with consequences if they're broken, be a good role model.

But experts say it comes down to hands-on, tough parenting and fighting off a desire to want to be your teen's friend.

"Too often, parents want to give away their responsibility as parents to the schools," said Bruce Novak, superintendent of the Cambridge-Isanti School District in Minnesota, where three high school students died and one was injured in a weekend crash that killed three others. "We're supposed to take care of all those issues and concerns that they're maybe uncomfortable with because they want to be the friend of their child. But our children need parents to guide them directly."

Parents, not pals

Novak said if teens aren't supposed to be out after 10 p.m., the parents should say, "'No, you're not supposed to be out.' And they can throw their little hissy fit and pout and go to their room and be mad. At what point in time do parents finally say: 'I'm going to be the parent. I'm the responsible one'"?

Bill Doherty, a professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota, said parents have become more laid-back, even indulgent. But this is not the time for "wishy-washy" parenting.

"But what you'll hear from some parents is that kids are kids. You can't police them, and you want to keep open lines of communication and blah-blah. The thing is, you have to have as firm a policy as you can have against alcohol use, against your child driving with other teens at night," said Doherty. "Know who their friends are and know if their friends drink and monitor, monitor, monitor."

Like Novak, Doherty, a parenting expert, dismisses the idea that the best parent is a best friend.

"Many parents want to be buddies with their kids and don't want to come down too hard on them," he said. "And many parents have this idea, 'Well, the kids are going to use alcohol anyway, so why be the heavy, why talk about it that much?' What we know from the research is that teens who believe their parents are firmly against them drinking are less apt to drink. Our kids carry us in their brain, and that's why (you need) a firm hand, that 'you're too young to drink and it's not acceptable to me as your parent that you drink at all, let alone drink and drive.' "

Instill values, stay vigilant

Parents also have to realize that just because their son or daughter is a reasonable, responsible young adult doesn't mean their teen is that way around other teens.

"This is what parents need to know: Whatever maturity level your teenager shows alone, you cut it in half if there are other teens in the car," he said. "The more teens present, add alcohol and you get the maturity level of a 6-year-old."

Society is still turning over keys to multi-ton vehicles to young adults whose brains aren't fully mature until they're 25. So what are parents to do? Besides knowing who they're with and what they're doing, instill their values in their teens.

"You can't fully control them, but you can influence them," Doherty said. "We can't fully protect them, but we can reduce the odds that they'll be in that situation. That's what we're talking about."

Gordy Pehrson, youth alcohol and driving coordinator at the Office of Traffic Safety, agreed that teens, by their very nature, feel invincible and throw caution to the wind. Even when they're learning about driving laws, he said, it becomes just "noise" to them after a while.

"Teens know it's wrong to drink and drive, they know it's wrong to speed, they know it's wrong to not wear their seat belt — but they do it anyway," he said. "So I can't emphasize enough the importance of parents, their roles in safe driving with their teens. We can't legislate it, we can't force it down people's throats."

According to Novak, schools have taken on a growing role when it comes to drug and alcohol awareness and even seat belt safety, but he was quick to add schools can't do it all.

"How much more can we do without being there with the child every minute of every day? For me, it is parent responsibility," he said.

Parents should know that they'll need to bite the bullet, said Pehrson. "Kids say that they hate you. It's really tough to make it through those years."

Read more:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tattle tale technology for Teen drivers, coming soon!

Sitting atop the dashboard, she speaks in the same melodic, robotic voice as a GPS.

But this device tattles.

"Reduce speed now," she says, her screen turning red. "Text message will be sent if speeding continues."

It's only a demonstration, but soon, technology developed at the University of Minnesota could keep an electronic eye on teen drivers.

If they speed? Mom and Dad get a text. Don't fasten their seat belts? Car won't shift into drive. Fill their car with friends? Parents find out within seconds.

The researchers believe that technology is one key to reining in rogue drivers and preventing the kinds of crashes that killed 11 people last weekend.

"We'd like to change teens' behavior before they become the next statistics," said Max Donath, director of the U's Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute.

Devices exist that monitor speed or seat belts or cell phone use, but the U's technology -- called the Teen Driver Support System -- goes well beyond that.

"It is the first holistic system to be built and tested by any university or private company," said Michael Manser, director of the institute's HumanFIRST Program.

This month, researchers will test-drive their latest model on parents and teens in Washington and Dakota counties, which have the state's biggest numbers of teen driver fatalities.

"We want to make sure it's usable," Manser said. For example: "How often do parents really want to get text messages?"

Based on that feedback, the U will tweak the technology and later recruit families to use it for a few months. They hope that eventually, the technology will come with the car -- or be offered as a low-cost add-on.

Smart phones and keys

The first prototype, developed in 2006 with some funding from the state and federal departments of transportation, was a complicated, clunky, computer-based device that had to be installed in a car.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Teen Drivers Graduated Drivers License Laws, Go National

Nationwide Insurance Supports Senator’s Push for STANDUP Act to Promote Teen Driver Safety

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company today stated its support for the STANDUP Act which, if passed, would establish minimum requirements for state Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) laws that emphasize teen driver safety : by gradually introducing new teen drivers to the responsibility and skills involved in operating a motor vehicle.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) today introduced the The Safe

Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection (STANDUP) Act, which establishes minimum requirements for state GDL laws, promotes action with incentive grant funds, and imposes a sanction on states who fail to meet those requirements after three years.

Auto accidents are one of the leading causes of death among American teenagers. Since 1999, more than 80,000 people in the United States were killed in crashes involving teen drivers. Nationwide believes that to reduce teen crashes and fatalities we need stronger GDL laws, better public awareness of teen driving issues, and greater involvement of parents in teaching and coaching new teen drivers and using teen safe driving tips : .

In conjunction with the National Safety Council, Nationwide sponsored a national symposium on GDLs where research was released clearly showing the number of teen driver-related-crashes were reduced in states with strong GDL laws.

“Unfortunately, GDL laws vary widely by state and there are no states today that have all the model GDL components that research shows reduces teen crashes and fatalities,” said Bill Windsor, Nationwide’s Consumer Safety Officer. “We believe the STANDUP Act will not only help to prevent teen crashes and reduce crash-related injuries, but more importantly, save lives.”

As a member of the Saferoads4teens Coalition, an alliance representing consumer, health, safety, insurance, and medical organizations, Nationwide supports GDL laws as an integral part of the solution.

“Nationwide believes all of us need to do a better job of raising awareness of the issue so that parents get more involved in teaching and coaching new teen drivers,” Windsor added.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Teenagers and Road Rage, Parents be aware and a good example!

Teenagers are impressed by flashy cars, speed & drivers who appear to own the road. Parents prone to road rage set a dangerous example for impressionable young motorists.

Teenagers can't wait to drive – one of the first steps to becoming independent adults. Classroom and online driving courses cover all aspects of driving, including driver courtesy, but teens don't always connect what they've learned in the classroom to what's on the road. At a very early age, kids learn a lot about driving from the examples they see in real life. Parents who curse and scream at other drivers, and who drive aggressively, are teaching teens that it's okay to get angry behind the wheel.

How Does Road Rage Start?
Teens old enough to operate a motor vehicle are still immature and have practically no solo driving experience. Hormones and brain development play a part in how teens react to emotional stimuli. Teens lack confidence in their ability and may fear having an accident or getting killed. A close call or coping with another motorist's blatant discourtesy causes sudden and overwhelming stress. The reaction is aggression toward the offending driver.

Video games are not all child's play and many are far from educational. The worst driving games have nothing to do with skill; motorists have the option to kill pedestrians, get involved in accidents, and damage property. Tragically, the glorified games featuring blood and gore can easily influence kids, but the number of teen fatalities from real life traffic accidents has very little impact on young drivers.

Games aren't the only bad influence on teenagers just starting to drive. For years, movies, TV shows, commercials, magazines and social expectations have been teaching kids that self worth is measured by a car's style and speed.

Parents begin teaching life skills from the moment a child is born. Every time a child or young teen gets into the family vehicle with a parent, he or she learns something about driver courtesy and a motorist's attitude behind the wheel. Whether parents want to admit it or not, many have taught their teenagers the finer points of physical and verbal road rage.

Signs a Teen May be Prone to Road Rage
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA) statistics cited on the page, "Aggressive Driving: Three Studies" (Report by Louis Mizell, Inc., for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 2009), "An average of at least 1,500 men, women, and children are injured or killed each year in the United States as a result of 'aggressive driving.'"

How can a parent tell if a teen might have a tendency toward road rage? First of all, don't wait until a young person is old enough to get a driving learner's permit to begin analyzing his or her driving character.

•When a teen is a passenger, does he (or she) make aggressive comments or display an angry attitude toward a motorist that's made a mistake?
•Is the teen short-tempered, rude, easily angered, or is he quick to criticize other people?
•Does the teen frequently display extreme emotional tendencies at home, such as yelling and screaming?
•Does he take responsibility for his actions at home, at school, and at work?
•What kind of behavior does the teen (and other young family members) see when a parent drives?
•Does the teen look or act thrilled when a parent or other adult driver tries to "get even" or yells obscenities at an offending motorist?
•Does the teen "show off" at home in front of his friends or try to act macho?
•Is the teen behind the wheel obsessed with speed or slow traffic, and does he take too many chances?
How a Parent Can Stop Teen Road Rage
Teens are influenced by other adults as well as peers who may drive recklessly – or have a reckless attitude about driving. What can parents do when a teen driver shows road rage?

1.Take away the keys. This is not a drastic measure, but may very well be a lifesaving step.
2.When everyone is calm, discuss with the teen his aggressive behavior and improvements that will have to be made before the keys can be returned. Be firm.
3.Ride with the teen until completely convinced the teen's behavior has improved.
4.Seek professional help for teen anger if necessary.
5.Ask other parents, teachers, and any adult who knows the teen to be observant and report any temper outbursts or driving incidences that might indicate an anger problem.
6.Don't make the mistake of thinking teen driver aggression is "only a phase" or "he'll grow out of it".
Parents are responsible for setting good examples for kids of any age. Teenagers learning to drive may demonstrate the same good or bad behaviors as a parent when behind the wheel of a car.

A parent can look for clues that a teen may be too aggressive to drive safely. Parents who suspect a teen is guilty of road rage are strongly urged to take action before someone gets hurt. Taking away the car keys and/or seeking professional help for teen anger is not going too far, but is in fact acting responsibly. Allowing a teen to continue his aggression toward other drivers could ultimately lead to tragedy.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pemco Once again leads the way with Teen Driver Info!

Once again Pemco takes the lead in keeping our focus on keeping teen drivers safe! We at Sav-on feel Pemco is a leader in our area for keeping us informed with the latest information.

SEATTLE,April 13/PRNewswire/ -- A recent poll by PEMCO Insurance, the state's largest local insurance company, reveals that Washington drivers want stricter penalties for teen drivers who violate Washington's intermediate license law.

The poll, taken at the end of 2009, shows that 51 percent of licensed drivers believe that intermediate-license violations should be strengthened from a secondary to a primary offense. As a primary offense, the law would allow police to issue tickets to teens solely for violating the intermediate license law's passenger or curfew restrictions.

Buzz The 2001 law makes it illegal for newly licensed teen drivers to drive with passengers under 20 years old who are not immediate family members, and for those teens to drive unaccompanied between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Intermediate drivers must abide by these restrictions during the first six months of having a driver license.

"Sixteen and 17-year-olds in particular are inexperienced drivers, and any sort of distraction, whether it's from a cell phone or a friend in the front seat, increases the risk of a crash," said Jon Osterberg, PEMCO spokesperson. "The intermediate license law helps teens gain skill and experience in a safe setting."

PEMCO also asked drivers if intermediate license laws are enforced with the teen drivers in their own households. Of those with teenage drivers, 84 percent of parents said they enforce the state's laws with their teens. Additionally, three out of four parents (76 percent) enforce other driving-privilege rules aside from what the law requires.

Washington's intermediate license law also requires parents to accompany their teens for 50 hours of practice driving, including 10 hours at night, before teens can get their driver license.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Best/Worst States rankings for Teen Driving safety

The report, published by the online-only U.S. News & World Report and released Thursday with help from Allstate Insurance, gave Minnesota high marks for seat-belt and drunken-driving enforcement, as well as an "excellent" rating for laws addressing distracted driving. However, it also noted that the state does not require motorcycle riders to wear helmets.

Joining Minnesota in the top 10, in order: the District of Columbia, California, Colorado, Maryland, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Utah and Washington state.

As for other Upper Midwest states, Wisconsin was 41st, Iowa 49th, North Dakota 50th and South Dakota 51st.

The magazine said that South Dakota allows teenagers to drive at 14 and "has some of the nation's more lax laws regarding driving while intoxicated or distracted."

"The rankings don't adequately reflect highway safety in South Dakota,'' says James Carpenter, director of the state Office of Highway Safety.

South Dakota's laws aren't necessarily as weak as the rankings would suggest, he said. "If you are arrested in South Dakota for a DUI, you give blood,'' Carpenter said. "We're trying to get these people off the road before they get to the point of being in a fatal car crash.'' That's a tougher standard than many states have for blood draws in the event of highway crashes, he said.

South Dakota does issue driver licenses at age 14, but it has a graduated system that includes strict supervision of the young driver, with increasing freedom as the teen-ager demonstrates driving skill and judgment.

The full state rankings, including the methodology, are available at In producing the rankings, researchers reviewed comprehensive government statistics on teen driving as well as a range of factors specifically affecting young drivers.

"Car crashes are the leading cause of death among teens today," said U.S. News editor Brian Kelly. "By compiling the most critical information on driving safety, [the ranking] can raise awareness among families and help them address safety concerns with their teenage drivers."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Kyleigh's Law"

TRENTON — New Jersey will soon be the first state to alert police when a young driver is behind the wheel.

The Motor Vehicles Commission is unveiling red decals that motorists under the age of 21 must display on their license plates.
The reflective red stickers will help police identify drivers in order to enforce restrictions on passenger limits and 11 p.m. curfews.

The stickers, which take effect May 1, are removable and will cost $4.

Attorney General Paula Dow and MVC officials will announce the implementation of "Kyleigh's Law" at an MVC office in Freehold Wednesday.

Kyleigh D'Alessio was a 16-year-old central New Jersey high school student who was killed in a vehicle driven by another teen in 2006.

Will this help to reduce teen accidents behind the wheel?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Young Texas Drivers to Complete Class Before Licensure

A new law which went into effect March 1st requires drivers aged 18-24 to complete an approved driver education course. They must submit their certificate proving they successfully completed the course, which must be a course approved by the Texas Education Agency.

Successful completion of the course allows the license applicant to bypass the written highway signs and traffic laws test, but still must pass the driving skills exam.

Drivers aged 15 to 17 are not affected by this new law since they are still required to complete a driver's education class to be licensed.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

TIWI, Creating Bad Habits?

You remember TIWI? The friendly teen driver GPS device that speaks to your teen telling them to slow down, that they've made a hard brake or hard acceleration (among other things). Read our post on TIWI from late January.

Well, TIWI has made it back in the local public spotlight with King 5 news. TIWI does most things that the other teen driver GPS devices do (tracking and reporting back to the parent with a text message or e-mail), but again, TIWI has set itself apart with a vocal alert which will continue until the teen has followed direction-- such as slowing down.

But is it this very vocal alert that might create a reliance on driving habits? For example, if 17-year-old Kayla is driving mindlessly, slowly but surely reaching speeds upwards of 80 miles per hour, TIWI will alert her to slow down when she goes 10 MPH over the speed limit! So in theory, Kayla will slow down. But take TIWI away, who is going to tell her to slow down?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Insurance Study Shows Distracted Driving Bans Are Not Effective in Reducing the Number of Crashes

The Highway Loss Data Institute studied insurance claims before and after distracted driving bans took place in California, New York, Connecticut, and Washington, DC and found that driver's are not following the ban; there have been no changes in the number of crashes.

They also looked at neighboring states which have not enacted such bans and found the same results.

What is it going to take for teens and adults to realize that texting or even distracted driving in general is a danger? themselves and others.
Or do we just need a more convenient way to communicate while we drive?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Girl vs. Boy: Gap Closing on Risky Driving Behaviors

Teen boy drivers have notoriously higher insurance rates, due to their aggressive and risky driving behavior...and the crash rates to prove it. But the gap in risky behavior between teen boys and girls seems to be closing according to a recent report from The Allstate Foundation.

In the study, girls admit to speeding, texting, and acting aggressively behind the wheel more than boys. But the survey statistics haven't translated into crash statistics. But if the trend continues, it could result in higher premiums for girls.

"Experience still shows female drivers are safer than boys at this age," Allstate spokesman Raleigh Floyd said. "Until those figures change, our rating isn't going to change."

But even so, the rates have grown a little. Twenty years ago, it cost an average of 50% more to insure a young male than young female. These days it's about 20% to 30% more. "There is still a gap, but it's getting smaller all the time," said Thomas DeFalco, an actuary at the New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co.

And Sam Belden, vice president at, said data compiled through the online agency show that premiums for 16-year-old girl drivers have risen about $500 over the last two years, while those for boys in the same age group have been roughly flat.

Most chalk it up to distractions. DVD players, MP3 players, friends in the car...and maybe it boils down to plain boredom. Everyone is in such a hurry.

Kristen Marzano, 17, has had her license for about five months and admitted that sometimes she puts on her makeup or fixes her hair in the car or plays with her MP3 player.

"It's mostly I wait until the last minute to do everything," she said. "If I'm going to drive, I'm running out the door, dropping things. I guess it's just being disorganized."

Check out the statistics from the study below...parents and teens alike, are you one of the numbers?

Click to enlarge

Thank you to Chicago Tribune

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Young Woman Drives Drunk While Nursing Child

Just came across a shocking article about an event that took place April of last year...

A 19-year-old woman in Alice Springs, Australia was breast feeding her 5-month-old child after leaving a bar and was, evidently SO intoxicated, that she almost hit the police car that pulled her over and then couldn't function enough to do the breathalyzer test. The vehicle she was driving was unregistered and uninsured vehicle and she wasn't licensed to drive.

How almost sounds made up.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Oprah Winfrey and Progressive's "No Phone Zone"

During her show today (Jan. 22), Oprah Winfrey announced that Progressive is sponsoring the No Phone Zone campaign, an awareness campaign designed to educate drivers on the dangers of cell phone use while driving. Drivers are encouraged to visit to sign a pledge to not use cell phones while driving.

Ms. Winfrey launched the campaign January 15, and already, over 45,000 people have signed the pledge.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, close to 500,000 people are injured and 6,000 are killed each year as a result of drivers talking, texting, or e-mailing while behind the wheel.

“This sponsorship fits well with our brand. We encourage all drivers to operate their vehicles safely,” states Karen Barone, Agency Distribution leader. “In fact, we feel so strongly about this that Progressive employees are prohibited from using any electronic equipment, including cell phones, while driving on behalf of Progressive.”

For more information--or if you'e like to sign the pledge yourself--please visit

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Another Teen Driver Tracking Device Hits the Market

Like many of the teen driver tracking devices, Tiwi will send a text, e-mail, or voice alert to the parent or guardian of the young driver.

Tiwi does have some other interesting features, however. It is situated on the windshield of the vehicle to give voice alerts when the driver violates things like speeding, hard turns, and seatbelt use. The placement of the Tiwi also allows an "e-Call" to to an emergency operator through the e-Call feature. Parents and guardians can also call directly to the unit to speak to the teen.

The device can be installed by the parent or can be installed for about $60, the website says; no information on operating cost was found.