Archive for October, 2012
Some insurance companies have formally begun to work with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to devise ways of encouraging teens to drive safely. As it stands, their death rate behind the wheel is three times that of drivers aged 20 and over. This is an unnecessary and terrible waste of life. So, for example, we now have safety programs like Shift which is face-to-face and online opportunities for teens to share their experiences.
The theory is that peer-to-peer works better than adults trying to tell the “kids” how to drive. However, the sponsors of this program admit talk is not enough on its own. The entire project is therefore defined as a form of competition with cash prizes. The teens log on to the websites in each state and earn points by taking part in different activities. The ones with the most points at the end of the time set share in the prize fund. More interestingly, there are also prizes for schools that participate. The schools which have the most points and the fewest number of accidents with their students involved also win prizes. The idea is, of course, to tap into peer pressure to boost safety awareness and better driving practices.
One of the most pressing problems is distractions. Safe driving depends on alertness, being aware of what’s going on around the vehicle when it’s in motion. Unfortunately, every teen in the country now carries enough personal computing power to chat to everyone on the planet at the same time. Combine this with inexperience as a driver and you have a deadly combination whenever calls or messages come in. Instead of pulling over to pass on urgent messages on how to save the world, drivers focus on local matters like where to meet up for a burger or who’s currently thought hot. That means some more responsible insurers are passing on details of programs like Shift when they send out their free car insurance quotes for teens.
Another useful incentive is offering discounts on safe driving courses which can work for some more organised teens as an encouragement to keep those car insurance quotes even lower.