Make us your home page
Instagram

Parents, pick the right cars for teenagers

Many teenagers are driving cars that are poorly matched to their driving skills, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The institute released its first list of recommended used vehicles for teens in July after finding in a survey of 500 parents that 83 percent bought used, rather than new, cars for their teens to drive.

The organization reviewed crash ratings and safety features, such as electronic stability control systems, for used cars, and then obtained price data from Kelley Blue Book to build its list.

Mindful that families can have varying budgets, the group recommended cars along a broad spectrum of prices. It recommended, for instance, the Lincoln MKS from the 2009 model year, which starts at about $15,500, but also 2006 to '08 Volkswagen Passats, which start at about $5,000 on the used market.

"These lists of recommended used vehicles can help consumers factor in safety in addition to affordability," said Adrian Lund, the group's president.

The institute found that teens tend to drive small or subcompact cars that don't offer good crash protection, and also older cars, from the 2006 model year or earlier. That's a problem because older vehicles are less likely to have important safety features such as electronic stability control and side air bags.

Teenagers killed in crashes are more likely than adults to have been driving small and older vehicles, the institute said. Among fatally injured drivers ages 15 to 17 from 2008 through 2012, 29 percent were in small or subcompact cars. That compared with 20 percent for drivers ages 35 to 50.

When picking a car for their new driver, parents should follow these guidelines:

• Avoid high-horsepower vehicles that could tempt teens into speeding.

• Select bigger cars that have the mass to protect occupants in an accident.

• Put young drivers in vehicles equipped with electronic stability control, which helps a driver maintain control of the vehicle on curves and slippery roads. Such systems are as important as seat belts, the insurance group said.

• Parents should also pick vehicles with good Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration safety ratings.

"You don't want to get your kid the spiffy red BMW that will be tempting to race," said Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety.

Parents purchasing a used car for their teen should also check to see if the vehicle has been recalled but not fixed, Shahan said.

"There are something like 36 million cars out there that have a pending recall," Shahan said.

The insurance group found that, on average, parents spend about $9,800 on a car for a teen. But the median point of car purchases for teens is far lower, at just $5,300.

"Unfortunately, it's very difficult to get a safe vehicle for a teenager at the prices most people are paying," said Anne McCartt, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety senior vice president for research. "Our advice to parents would be to remember the risks teens take and consider paying a little more."

All the cars on the group's list have electronic stability control and provide good crash protection.

The list of specific models can be found at goo.gl/JqC3nB.

Parents, pick the right cars for teenagers 07/31/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 2:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rick Scott appoints 'my friend,' Jimmy Patronis, as Florida CFO

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Monday appointed a long-time friend and political supporter, Jimmy Patronis, to replace Jeff Atwater as Florida's next chief financial officer, making him one of three members of the Cabinet that sets state policy on a wide range of issues. He'll take over Friday.

    Rick Scott appoints Jimmy Patronis (background) as CFO. [STEVE BOUSQUET | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Local gas prices plummet as Fourth of July holiday travel approaches

    Tourism

    TAMPA — Local gas prices are enjoying an unseasonal dip around the $2 mark just in time for the hectic Fourth of July holiday travel weekend.

    The price of regular unleaded gasoline has dropped to $1.99 at a Rally station on Pasadena Ave. South and Gulfport Boulevard South, South Pasadena.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  3. Air bag recalls, lawsuits lead Takata to file for bankruptcy

    Autos

    Shattered by recall costs and lawsuits, Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. filed Monday for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., saying it was the only way it could keep on supplying replacements for faulty air bag inflators linked to the deaths of at least 16 people.

    Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. CEO Shigehisa Takada bows during a press conference in Tokyo on Monday. Takata has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of defective air bag inflators.
[(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi]
  4. Airbag maker Takata bankruptcy filing expected in Japan, U.S.

    Corporate

    DETROIT — Japanese airbag maker Takata Corp. has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of faulty air bag inflators.

  5. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]