Get Safer Teen Drivers by Giving Them Better Cars

U.S. News unveils new car list for teens.

by on Jul.26, 2016

New safety technologies offer parents some peace of mind as their youngsters get behind the wheel.

Parents of soon-to-be-teenage drivers are often faced with a tough decision: what should the newly minted motorist tool around town in?

There two trains of thoAdd an Imageught on this: an older car that when it gets a dings, scratches and dents that often come with learning the rules of the road won’t require a call to the insurance company or a newer vehicle replete with the latest in safety technology, but often comes with a monthly payment and a much higher insurance tab.

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If the latter of the two is your choice, then you’re facing a mountain of choices, all of which will likely be pretty good. However, the folks at U.S. News and World Report have compiled their annual list of Best New Cars for Teens to help parents weed through the options.

(New York tops list of best states for teen drivers. For more, Click Here.)

Not all drivers are the same and not every family has the same finances available to put toward a vehicle for a teen driver. U.S. News has divided its suggestions into price categories ranging from less than $20,000 and more than $40,000. The winners are:

The 2016 Chevy Malibu features Teen Driver, a system that allows parents to monitor and limit their child's driving behavior.

  • Best under $20k: Chevrolet Sonic (winner), Honda Fit (finalist)
  • Best $20k to $25k: Kia Soul (winner), no finalist
  • Best $25k to $30k: Mazda3 (winner), Honda Civic (finalist)
  • Best $30k to $35k: Hyundai Sonata (winner), Chevrolet Malibu (finalist)
  • Best $35k to $40k: Ford Fusion Hybrid (winner), Kia Optima (finalist)
  • Over $40k: Nissan Murano (winner), Toyota Highlander (finalist)

The primary focus when selecting a new vehicle for a teenager is, well, focus. Unsurprisingly, distraction is a leading cause of crashes involving teens.

Whether they’re talking with friends in the car, using their phone, or looking at something else inside the car such as the infotainment system, teens are taking their eyes off the road. Even when they’re focused on driving, teens’ inexperience behind the wheel can lead to poor decision making with potentially fatal results.

(Click Here for more on why parents who set rules produce safer teen drivers.)

“Each winner has a long list of accident-avoidance technologies such as blind spot monitoring, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, and automatic pre-collision braking, as well as top-notch crash test performance, so occupants will be well-protected should an accident occur,” noted Matt Rand, research analyst, U.S. News & World Report.

“Plus, new technology in some vehicles allows parents to set speed and audio volume restrictions when their teen is behind the wheel, while other systems can send parents updates on their teen’s driving behavior.”

Technology that is controllable by parents can be critical to the safety of young drivers, who are more easily and more likely to be distracted by available technology. In fact, almost 50% of teen drivers admitted texting or checking email while driving in the past 30 days, according to AAA.

(Car crashes No. 1 killer of teenagers in U.S. Click Here for the story.)

In addition to buying a safe car, AAA encourages parents to talk with teens about the responsibility that comes with climbing behind the wheel. They recommend setting down rules for driving (and observing them as well) and talking about the dangers of distracted driving.

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One Response to “Get Safer Teen Drivers by Giving Them Better Cars”

  1. therr says:

    Phooey. Anything more than a radio is too distracting. AND, make it clear, THE PHONE IS TURNED OFF WHILE DRIVING! How do you expect them to LEARN proper driving habits with a bunch of distractions and safety nannies in the car. If it was up to me, they would have manual steering and manual transmission but nobody builds ‘em like that anymore. New drivers need to think about driving to stand a chance of becoming a “driver” and not just the passenger holding the steering wheel.

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