Every parent has considered the nightmare of a police officer notification regarding a serious car wreck involving their child. In your frantic car ride to the hospital, you dread what you may see upon arrival and pray your child is OK. You can’t help but feel responsible for your child’s suffering, since at one point you were the one who made the decision regarding how much money to spend on their car so they would have better odds of surviving this exact situation.
More expensive cars today, those costing $20,000 or more, come with the latest active safety features like forward collision warning and avoidance, and lane departure warning systems. These semi-autonomous safety features are now producing impressive safety results in real world situations. In a recent article on the NY Times website, the Insurance Institute for Highway safety claims their data indicated a “12 percent reduction in claims for property damage liability, a 27 percent reduction in bodily injury liability, and a 22 percent reduction in medical payments compared with similar cars that lacked those features”. The car examined was the Honda Crosstour, and the time period examined was from 2013 to 2014.
Although the odds of your child being in a fatal car wreck are small, you live every day worrying as if your teenager’s life is on the line. According to the CDC – In 2013, 2,163 teens in the United States ages 16–19 were killed and 243,243 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes. This is out of 12 million or so teenage drivers so the percentage is still relatively small – unless it’s your child.
Out of more than 2,000 fatalities, the NHTSA says approximately 12% were distracted drivers, and nearly 15% of those distracted drivers were using their mobile phones. It’s now 2016 and it appears that those numbers are misleadingly low. Smart phone usage has exploded and virtually every teen is attached to their phones 24/7, including when they are driving.
Until safer smart phone technology exists for drivers, it will be nearly impossible to get one’s teenager to shut off his/her smart phone while driving. Even if they do, they will likely face other distractions, not the least of which is friends riding in the car. It’s up to you to decide how much money you want to spend on the safety features of your teenager’s car. A little more safety record and active safety feature research now might make all the difference in your teen’s future. Spending a few more dollars might also help you sleep more soundly.