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Florida Parents : Why a Fast Car or Motorcycle May Not Be Smart Gift Ideas for Teenage Drivers

This spring, high schools across the state of Florida will graduate another crop of seniors — teenagers with their whole lives in front of them. Parents who have the means may be thinking about a big graduation present for their graduating son or daughter: namely — a car, truck or SUV of their own. Or maybe they’d like to purchase a motorcycle for that teen with a spirit to ride. However a new report cautions parents that a high-performance vehicle is not the best gift idea for an inexperienced youth driver.

One of the number-one killers of teens and young adults in Florida and around the U.S. is auto accidents. Research has shown that teen drivers lack the experience, maturity, and know-how to make the same good driving decisions on Fla. roads, city streets, and highways as compared to adult drivers. Now a new insurance industry report states that teenagers’ risks for serious and fatal vehicle crashes increases when teens are driving high-performance vehicles, including sports cars and motorcycles.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that while “teenagers are more likely than drivers their parents’ age to crash…,” new analysis shows that their risk for traffic accidents increases when they drive certain types of motor vehicles. These include…
> Midsize sports cars, which had the third highest ratio of teen to prime-age driver claim rates — teens experience accidents in these types of sports cars at 2.5 times the rate compared to adult drivers.

> Supersport motorcycles, capable of accelerating and traveling at high speeds. Motorcycle accident insurance claims for teenage operators are filed at a rate more than 4 times that of adult operators ages 35 to 60 years old.

IIHS analysts believe that teens experience more crashes when driving these types of cars and motorcycles because of the vehicles’ ability to travel so fast — and the temptation for young, novice drivers to “show off” in front of friends. Sadly, these lapses in judgment can lead to serious injury and death for teen drivers, their passengers, other motorists, and pedestrians.

Though not always classified as “high-performance vehicles,” minicars and small cars also turn up more frequently on insurance claims for teen drivers. The report analysts theorize that because these vehicles are nimble and capable of making tight turns and maneuvers, that teen drivers may more easily lose control of them. Again, lack of experience on Florida roadways is risky for teens in these types of vehicles.

It may come as somewhat of a surprise — and a comfort — to Florida parents and motorists to learn that SUVs and other big vehicles aren’t more of a risk for teen drivers, or anyone else. Thanks to improvements in SUV design and engineering, these types of motor vehicles have become safer to drive in recent years, for teens and adults. And if they are in a crash, these vehicles offer more protection for the driver and passengers.

Fort Lauderdale traffic accident injury lawyers know that life can turn on a dime on busy Florida city streets and highways. Teen drivers are at increased risk for getting in serious or deadly traffic accidents. Bottom line is if you’re considering a car or motorcycle as a gift for your graduating Florida teen — think hard about it. More parents would agree, safety is far more important than impressing one’s teenager and his or her friends.

Related Florida Accident Attorney articles:

Florida Motorcycle Product Safety Recall Alert : Victory Motorcycles Recalled Due to Passenger Injury Hazard (Sept. 2011)

New Florida Motorcycle Traffic Accident Fatality Statistics Show Crash Death Rates Declining, But It’s Still a Dangerous State for Bikers (Aug. 2011)


“Teens’ Crash Risk Rises When They Drive Models Built for Performance”
IIHS Status Report, Vol. 46, No. 10, p. 4, Nov. 17, 2011 (PDF)

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