Pick a Car to Keep Your Newly Licensed Teen Safe during a St. Louis Car Accident

Pick a Car to Keep Your Newly Licensed Teen Safe during a St. Louis Car Accident

Car accidents continue to be the number of cause of death for teenagers. Their inexperience behind the wheel makes them extremely vulnerable for a car accident in St. Louis. As parents, we want to do everything in our power to keep our children safe, especially when they get their driver’s license.


In 2009 alone, there were nearly 2,500 drivers aged 15- to 20-years-old that were killed on our roadways. Another 196,000 suffered injuries from traffic accidents during the same year. There were more than 5,000 drivers of this age group involved in fatal police-reported traffic accidents throughout that entire year.

Our Missouri personal injury attorneys understand that parents may have tons of questions regarding how to go about getting their teen driver on the road safely. Don’t worry because we’re here to help. Picking out your teen’s first vehicle can be a simple process, if you know what you’re looking for. Remember, be realistic!

“I see these young, inexperienced drivers in Mustangs, BMWs, and large SUVs. These automobiles are big, powerful and difficult to control for even experienced drivers. In the hands of a new driver, they can be deadly weapons,” says LeeAnn Shattuck, co-owner and chief car chick with Women’s Automotive Solutions.

Do I buy new or used?

Financially speaking you’re better off purchasing a used car and safety-wise you’re fine with a used car as well. With a certified pre-owned vehicle, you will still get the benefits of a new-car like warranty. You can even get some excellent financing rates.

“A first time driver doesn’t need a new car, but of course they want one,” says Lori Mackey, president ofProsperity4Kids. “The depreciation, probability of fender benders and the price tag [means new] is not the most logical way to go.”

New cars will have all the latest safety bells and whistles, but late-model used cars will still come equipped with airbags, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control. With a used car, your teen will less likely be overwhelmed by the car’s power and performance.

“Buying a new car is insurance against breakdowns and repairs, regardless of the age or experience of the driver,” says Bob Gritzinger, executive editor of AutoWeek.com.

Which type of cars do I consider?

This is when you need to take in some questions of distance: Will your child be driving back and forth from college? Will the car mostly be used locally? How often will they need to drive it?

At this point, you are urged to go over safety and crash-test information. You can access a plethora of this information on websites like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. You’re also urged to check out J.D. Power and Associates for information regarding a vehicle’s quality and reliability ratings from a ratings service such as J.D. Power and Associates.

“Choose a car with a responsive chassis — one with good handling, quick steering and great brakes — that takes advantage of a teen driver’s naturally quick reaction skills,” advises Gritzinger.

You never want to get them too small of a vehicle either. Smaller cars are more problematic as they’re less likely to protect passengers as well in a front-end crash than a large vehicle would.

“Your teen is safest in a mid-sized sedan with a four cylinder engine, airbags and a good crash test rating,” warns Shattuck.

You need to remember that there is no rush to go out and buy the first car you see. Take your time, do your research and find a car that will best fit your budget. Have fun and enjoy this moment with your teen.

“Having a car is not a birthright,” says Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, who raised four children. “Today’s teens seem to think that they should have a car waiting for them in the driveway when they return home from the Motor Vehicle Department with their driver’s license. If that’s right for your family, fine. But don’t be held hostage to peer pressure, and by that I mean from other families who are buying their teen a car.”

If you or your teen has been injured in a Missouri car accident, contact St. Louis Injury Lawyer Ryan R. Cox for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 636-946-6886.

Additional Resources:

Buying Your Teenager’s First Car: What You Need to Know, by Sheryl Nance-Nash, Daily Finance

More Blog Entries:

Distracted teen drivers increase risk for St. Louis car accidents, St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer Blog, March 21, 2011

One Dead, Two Injured in Missouri Car Accident involving Teenagers, St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer Blog, February 21, 2011

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Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC

Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC is a litigation law firm that represents individuals and families in serious personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout Missouri. We help people who have been injured in all types of accidents—including car or truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and much more. Whether your injury is something that can cause long-term issues like a brain injury or spinal cord injury, or it is something you’ll likely make a full recovery from, we are here to help.

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