Buying a Cheap First Car Puts Teens at Greater Risk
Parents who buy their teens inexpensive first vehicles are putting them at higher risk of accident and injury, often because the cheapest cars are old and lacking modern safety features.
Nearly half of all teens killed on US roads since 2008 were driving vehicles eleven or more years old, according to a study published in the online journal “Injury Prevention.” And teens were twice as likely as middle-aged adults to be driving a car aged eleven to fifteen years old.
The data was collected from the US Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FURS) for 2008-12 which “collects information on all vehicle collisions on US public roads that result in at least one death with 30 days of the accident.”
“Given that teen drivers are more likely to be involved in road traffic collisions than older drivers, it is especially important that they drive vehicles fitted with key safety features, which afford good protection in the event of a crash.”
Purchasing a separate vehicle for a new teenage driver can be an unwelcome financial burden for parents, and handing down your aging vehicle may not be the safest option. Older vehicles often lack Electronic Stability Control, a safety feature that stabilizes the car when the driver looses control—a common event among new teenage drivers.
According to FURS, only around one in ten vehicles driven by fatally injured teens’ had Electronic Stability Control.
American philosopher Alfred Mele explains that driving is an especially interesting area of human psychology. We tend to deceive ourselves, says Mele, into believing we are better drivers than we really are. This has dangerous consequences, especially when it comes to drinking and driving: