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OVA Drive Safe Campaign: New Drivers

By Breckles Group, 10/15/18, 9:30AM EDT


This article is intended to give parents some ideas about introducing driving and helping their kids build the necessary responsibility to be safe drivers on the road.

Something we can all agree on is that parenting is a life long commitment regardless of your kid’s age.  One of the most important jobs of being a parent is helping your kids become responsible and mature members of society – especially when it comes to driving.  Most can agree that the late teenage years is the most sensitive time for both parents and kids.   Late teens becoming new driver is commonly one of those sensitive moments, and its important to reach out for some advice on how to manage this. 

We have a few tips we can share but would first like to start off with a baseline discussion around the value of money and the expense challenges associated to driving.  Studies have shown a direct correlation to responsible spenders and responsible drivers.  As brokers at Breckles Insurance, we often see teenagers gifted with cars and parents covering expenses from A-Z.  This often seems to be problematic due to the fact that teenagers, at sensitive stage in life are not able to take on their first (and most important) financial challenge in life.  Without understanding the high expense of vehicle ownership and insurance responsibilities, we often see a trend towards poor driving and insurance history.  We recommend that parents partner with their kids and embrace this stage as a life learning skill that will help everyone down the road – no pun intended.  Due to this problem that we see happening more and more, we have come up with some suggestions for new teenage drivers.

  1. Enforce the basic rules of the road.  We understand that few drivers on the road are perfect and obey all the rules.  It is a fact that the average driver tends to exceed the speed limit by 5-10kmph.  The problem starts when teenagers observe this behavior and start driving 15 + kmph because they feel it is normal.  Eventually, through the means of a traffic ticket, they learn to not exceed the speed limit the hard way.  Another common cause for traffic tickets that is completely avoidable, is rolling through a stop sign.  If there are 2 important rules that we would suggest to new drivers to obey especially. Firstly, keeping an eye on the speedometer, and second, coming to a complete stop at a stop sign. Lastly, to address a major problem, we consistently encourage our clients to look away from their handheld devices while driving.  Getting a ticket for distracted driving is considered a major ticket, and will increase your rates drastically, especially for young drivers whom already pay high premiums.   Following these rules, it will reduce the chances of getting a ticket dramatically, as well as to help in keeping our roads safer.
  2. Have some skin in the game.  If kids, who are new drivers, contribute to the costs of driving, it simply teaches them responsibility, as well as encouraging proactive responsible behavior.  Some common types of contribution we see, are kids paying for their own gas, and their insurance, or at least a portion of it.  This is good for 2 main reasons.  Firstly, paying for gas encourages kids to drive normally, and economically.   This means less aggressive maneuvers and more passive, safe driving.  They also learn that driving everywhere costs money, and to be more mindful of the fact.  Secondly, paying for insurance raises awareness to how traffic infractions become costly.  On a young drivers record, one speeding ticket can mean hundreds more per month.  This can help  teach that reckless driving is not worth it.
  3. Build a relationship with your insurance broker – Here at Breckles, we try and encourage our clients and anyone covered under the policy to have a relationship with us.  This is important for several reasons.  Firstly, it allows us to have a better idea of your needs, and helps us to pick the best possible policy to suit you and your family.  Secondly, having your teenage kids build a relationship with us, can be highly beneficial due to the fact that it allows them to have an idea of what it will cost to drive recklessly, and what it will do to their record.  We say this because on average, a minor ticket can result in a 15% surcharge for young drivers.  To show this in terms of numbers, the average teenage male driver pays about 5000 per year, when they are registered as the principal operator.  A minor ticket could result in that premium skyrocketing up to $5750 and this will stay for about 3 years.  In addition, it is important to remember not to miss any payments.  Missing a payment could result in the company cancelling the policy – and with a cancelled policy black mark on your insurance history, this could result in a surcharge with other insurance companies, and potentially force you into high risk insurance, which on average costs $10,000 per year, thus outlining the importance of keeping on top of your insurance. 

This is the third article of the OVA Drive Safe Campaign courtesy of Breckles Group.