Auto accidents are the leading cause of death among teens. Teen drivers are more likely
than drivers in any other age group to be involved in a crash.
Given these facts, it is natural for parents to be worried about their
teen's safety when he or she gets a driver's license. However,
there are some steps that parents can take to cut down on the risks their
teen driver faces.
Buying a safe, reliable car may be the most important step. The vehicle
does not have to be a new, expensive one to be a safe one. In fact, there
are many used, affordable cars that can provide a high level of safety.
A good source of information about the top used cars for teen drivers is
a recent report issued by the
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety(IIHS). The IIHS report separates what it considers to be the safest used
vehicles into two categories: Those starting under $20,000 and those starting
Here, we highlight five of the top, most budget-friendly vehicles for parents
to consider when looking for a car for their teen driver:
Average price: $9,700
Acura RL, model years 2005 and later, ranked highest among large cars in the IIHS
rankings. It received "good" ratings for moderate overlap front
protection and side protection and "marginal" ratings for roof
strength, head restraints and seats.
Average price: $9,900
Details: Among mid-size cars under $10,000, the
2009 Legacy was a top safety pick. It received "good" ratings in head restraints
and seats as well as side protection and moderate overlap front protection.
Average price: $9,800
Details: For those interested in small SUVs, the 2008 and later models of the
Nissan Rogue topped the ratings. Even though the vehicle received only a "marginal"
rating in small overlap front protection, it received "good"
ratings in several other categories.
Average price: $9,800
Mazda CX-9 from 2007 and later topped the list of mid-size SUVs. However, the vehicle
got a "poor" rating for small overlap front protection.
Average price: $8,600
Details: If you want your teen in a minivan, the IIHS ratings suggest that the
Volkswagen Routan from 2009 to 2011 is your best bet. The vehicle received "good"
ratings for moderate overlap front and side protection and a "marginal"
rating for head restraints and seats.
To review the complete IIHS listings,
Tips for Finding a Safe Car for Your Teen
For parents shopping for their teen's vehicle, the IIHS provides several
Avoid vehicles with high horsepower. Teens do not need to be in vehicles that will tempt them to speed.
Excessive speed is a factor in an overwhelming majority of auto accidents.
Choose larger, heavier vehicles for better protection. No minicars or compact vehicles made the IIHS lists - for a good reason.
Small vehicles offer little protection in the event of a crash.
Look for electronic stability control. ESC will help your teen maintain control of the vehicle in adverse conditions
and can reduce the risk of injury at a rate comparable to that of wearing
Seek out high safety ratings. Always check the safety ratings of any vehicle you are considering. These
can be found through the IIHS or through the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
You can't ride along every time your teen gets behind the wheel. However,
by choosing the right vehicle, you can still have a significant impact
on their safety.