Truth be told, I have a soon to be 15 year old daughter. The thought of her driving scares me, my wife and her grandparents. Don’t get me wrong. She’s a great kid and gets fabulous grades and is very responsible, most of the time. Like most teens, she is consumed with her smartphone and social media. I have visions of her driving down the road and a text message hits her phone and instantly, she’s distracted. What if someone sends her a Snap? Or makes a post on Instagram? Distracted driving is tough for adults let alone teens. For these reasons, letting her drive by herself one day scares me half to death.
Not only do parents these days have to worry about their teen and distracted driving, but also when a teen driver is added to your insurance policy, you’re looking at least a 35% rate increase minimum. Florida already has the third highest rates in the country. For these reasons, some teens are delaying getting their license until their 20’s. It makes sense to me. However, it sure would be nice not to have to drive her to and from school, sports practice, weekend activities and the like. Not to mention, she could be responsible and drive her younger brother to school and practice as well. So what is a parent to do? My wife and I have not decided yet, as we still have a year of restricted driving to go. But her are some points that could help:
- A GPA of 3.0 or better will get us a better insurance rate if we decide to let her get her license.
- Taking a Driver’s Education class will help as well and hopefully get her some real world driving experience and education on distracted driving.
- The new I Phone software can block incoming text messages while driving when connected to your cars Bluetooth.
- The smartphone app life 360 will allow you to track your teen’s whereabouts and how fast they are going from your smartphone.
- Most insurance companies offer a telematics device. If you can get over the whole big brother thing, these devices can really help in measuring average speed, hard braking, time of day they drive and you can even see results on line. It plugs into your car’s diagnostics port. Your insurance agent can educate you on this, offer a rate if installed and show you how to plug in in. There is usually an upfront discount for trying the device, anywhere from 5 – 10%. It has to be plugged in for 3 – 6 months depending on which insurer you are with. Once this time is up, the device is sent back to your insurance provider and you will receive a rate based on the results that come back. I’ve seen rates decrease by 27% by using this device with good driving.
At the end of the day, she will start driving at some point in her life. I just would like it to be at a time when she can be safe and not cost me a huge insurance rate increase. We’ll see what the future holds…
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