OAI: Florida Insurance Case Highlights Teen-Driver Problem

Jan 30, 2012, 08:00 ET from Online Auto Insurance, LLC

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Jan. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A recently decided Florida appeals court case that originated with "an accident involving four teenagers and some horseplay" highlights the type of behavior that leads auto insurance companies to charge teens more, according to Online Auto Insurance.

The case stemmed from an incident in which a passenger repeatedly reached over to honk the horn and grab the steering wheel of his girlfriend's car while she was driving. Both the driver and passenger were 17 years old, and there were two 16-year-old passengers also riding with them. In the end, his actions ultimately led to his girlfriend's losing control of the car and bumping its side up against a concrete wall while on an exit ramp, resulting in a negligence suit.

Sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have repeatedly said that teenagers take more unnecessary risks while behind the wheel compared with older drivers. And that often results in difficulty for families looking to buy cheap car insurance for young drivers, since insurers recognize the added risk and charge more.

The CDC has said that 16- to 19-year-olds are four times more likely than older drivers to get in a crash.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/teen_drivers/teendrivers_factsheet.html

One factor that may have played a part in this particular accident was the fact that all of the passengers were young teens.

Implementing restrictions on the number and age of passengers that can ride with a motorist in the first years of licensure is one of the main components of what has become a nationwide push to beef up state licensing laws. But Florida remains one of only four states with no restriction on the age or number of passengers that beginning motorists can have in the car.

Younger passengers can have a distracting effect on beginning drivers—sometimes even encouraging the driver to take more risks—and they have been shown to increase the likelihood that a teen will crash.

According to a study cited by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the fatal crash risk for teen motorists "increases incrementally" with one or two passengers compared with when younger motorists drive alone, but that risk increases by 200 percent when there are three or more teen passengers.  

To learn more about this and other auto insurance issues, you can go to http://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/teenagers/cheapest-young-drivers/ to find informative resources and a rate-comparison generator.

SOURCE Online Auto Insurance, LLC