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Risk of car accidents remains high for teen drivers

Parents may feel powerless to fully protect their children from dangers on Oklahoma roads. The statistics behind the sizable premium hike when placing a teen on the family insurance policy paint a bleak picture. In 2010, car wrecks claimed the lives of nearly as many individuals between the ages of 15 and 24 than the combined total of the next two causes of unintentional injury. A number of changes have taken place to reduce the risk of teenage car accidents, but insurance discounts may offer parents a means of reducing risk further.

States have taken some steps to address the risk of teen drivers. Some have enacted texting and driving laws, and others place limits on teen drivers. For instance, teenagers may be limited in the number of passengers that they can have or to driving at specific times of the day. Regulators and the auto industry have also responded to the risk of car wrecks and fatalities by strengthening curriculum for driver education and installing more vehicle safety features, respectively.

Oklahoma parents have another avenue to calm worries. Premiums reflect the statistical risk of accidents, serious injuries and death. Lowering premiums through discounts shows responsibility and therefore a lower risk. New drivers who maintain a B-average may receive up to a 25 percent discount. Additional drivers' coursework can reduce premiums by as much as 10 percent.

A lack of experience puts teenage drivers at greater risk of driver liability in car collisions. A distracted or otherwise negligent driver may cause catastrophic injuries or worse to themselves and others. A car accident victim may undergo immense pain and suffering as well as financial hardship. It may be possible to recover lost wages, medical expenses and other damages with a personal injury lawsuit. An attorney may be able to help gather appropriate evidence and pursue civil claims on behalf of victims.

Source: Market Watch, "Have a teen driver? Open your wallet", Jennifer Waters, July 11, 2013

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