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Half of Teen Crash Deaths Involved Older Cars, Study Shows

Posted by copeland on January 26, 2015

Teen boy in new car

If your driving-age teen is bugging you for a shiny new ride, you just might want to give in. Results of a new study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show that nearly half of drivers ages 15 to 17 killed in car crashes between 2008 and 2012 drove cars that were at least 11 years old, and nearly a third drove small cars.

Published in the December 18 issue of the journal Injury Prevention, the study draws and analyzes data from the government's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Data shows that compared to middle-aged drivers killed in car accidents during the same time span, teens overwhelmingly drive smaller, older vehicles. A May 2014 survey of parents showed that 60 percent of teenagers drive cars that are at least eight years old, and the FARS analysis reveals that 82 percent of teens killed in wrecks drove cars that were at least six years old.

The bottom line is that older, smaller cars generally are less safe than larger cars and newer cars with added safety features and better crash-test ratings. Older vehicles are less likely to have important safety features such as side airbags and electronic stability control. In fact, side airbags came standard in just 12 percent of the vehicles driven by fatally-injured teens included in the study. Electronic stability control came standard in just three percent of them.

Cash-strapped parents and those hoping to teach their teenage drivers financial responsibility often unknowingly trade safety for affordability. Before purchasing a vehicle for your teen, research its crashworthiness and have it thoroughly inspected by a trusted automotive professional. Opt for vehicles with wider, lower profiles to help reduce the risk of rollovers. And insist upon safety features like driver and side airbags, antilock brakes, working seatbelts, head restraints and traction control and electronic stability control systems.

Remember that the extra money you spend today could help save your son or daughter's life tomorrow. If your teen is injured or lost in an auto accident caused by a defect or by someone else's negligent or deliberate act, call 407-999-8995 and speak with an experienced auto accident attorney with Orlando's Todd E. Copeland & Associates. We're available 24/7 to serve clients throughout Florida.