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It is important that all drivers, but especially inexperienced ones, exercise caution while behind the wheel.  According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (15 to 18 years old) in the United States.

This national Teen Driver Safety Week, parents and teens alike should consider the following:

  • Ditch the Distractions: State law prohibits Junior Operators from having passengers (other than siblings) in the car for the first six months of having a license, from driving between 12:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. unless with a parent or guardian, and from using a cell phone and texting while driving. It’s smart to store a cell phone in the glove compartment or backpack to avoid the temptation of using it.

 

  • Slow down. Speed limits exist for a reason. A teen driver may not understand that a slight increase in speed could mean dozens of extra feet required to bring a car to a stop.

 

  • No alcohol! Driving under the influence of alcohol or any other controlled substance is proven to impair one’s ability to drive. Couple that with lack of driving experience, and teens risk not only their safety and future, but also those of the people around them.

 

  • Always wear a seat belt. Seatbelt use is required by law in MA, but arguably more important, seatbelts save lives! Not wearing a seat belt accounts for nearly half of all fatal accidents in the United States.

 

  • Insurance is mandatory. Whether teen drivers have their own insurance or are on a parent or guardians, they are required to carry a certain minimum level of liability insurance. Teen drivers should talk with their insurer about what coverages they need and any extras they may want to include.

 

  • The nicer the car, the higher the rates. Insurance policies take into account the model year of the vehicle as well as the added bells and whistles. A less expensive vehicles costs less to repair.

 

  • Good grades = good rates. Many insurers reward hard-working students with a good-students discount.  The standard is often a ‘B’ average or above.

 

  • A safe driver means better deals. One of the most common discounts offered by many insurers is a safe driver discount. Drivers who have clean records and no surchargable incidents may see their rates decrease.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s vehicular and customized wheelchair Lemon Laws and Arbitration Programs, Data Breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the MA Do Not Call Registry.

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