When a teen starts driving, their parents have plenty of cause for anxiety…
Will the car come back in one piece? Will the teen driver obey the rules of the road? What if the new driver gets in a car accident? And if their teenager does get in a wreck, will the whole family have to pay higher insurance premiums?
In Louisiana, the short answer is maybe.
There are potentially serious legal and financial penalties for teenagers who cause car crashes, but there are also steps the driver and their parents can take to minimize the damage. Read here to learn more about what to expect after a crash, and remember — the talented team of teen car accident experts at Pierce & Shows in Baton Rouge is here to help.
Teen driving dangers
Unfortunately, even the best-behaved, most conscientious teen drivers have less experience and skill than their adult counterparts.
For most teen drivers, however, research shows that they are more likely to:
- Run red lights
- Make illegal turns
- Drive while intoxicated,
Nationwide, car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers, according to the federal Center for Disease Control.
In 2017, about six U.S. teens died in car crashes and hundreds more were treated in emergency rooms each day.
And while teens, ages 15 to 19 make up about 6.5 percent of the population, they account for about 8 percent of the total costs of motor vehicle-related injuries.
High risk, high premiums and defensive driving courses
Because teenagers are at such high risk of getting tickets and accidents, their insurance premiums are expensive.
According to the Louisiana Department of Insurance, male drivers under 25 and female drivers under 21 typically have higher insurance costs.
Premium costs can go up even more if a teen has a less-than-perfect driving record — under Louisiana law, insurance companies have the right to raise rates after even one moving violation or accident in which the driver is more than 50 percent at fault.
A survey conducted by Nerd Wallet found that, on average, Louisiana drivers’ premiums increased by a whopping 55 percent after an accident.
Defensive driving courses
Fortunately, Louisiana drivers may be able to avoid higher rates after a ticket or accident by taking a defensive driving course.
While Louisiana doesn’t use a “point system” like some other states, tickets and accidents do appear on a driver’s record.
In some cases, however, courts and insurance companies make exceptions for drivers who are willing to do some extra driver education. Both courts and insurers usually consider the severity of the incident and the driver’s history when deciding whether to give some leeway.
If your teen has been found at fault in an accident, contact your insurance provider to find out if they offer a discount to drivers who take defensive driving courses. Many insurers do, but the requirements and discounts vary by company, and may be decided on a case-by-case basis.
Defensive driving courses usually include a review of driving regulations, advice about how to be a safer driver, guidance about traffic signs and signals, and of course, tips for defensive driving.
While some require in-person attendance, there are now many options for online courses. Many can be completed in less than a day and cost less than $100.
If your teen has been issued a ticket related to their accident, it’s worth checking to see if your court system has a ticket dismissal program, because the same steps that could reduce post-accident premium costs might also help keep a ticket off their record.
Contact Pierce & Shows for help with your teen driver
Experts advise parents to take early steps to keep premiums down. But in the case that your teen does have an accident, the attorneys at Pierce & Shows, who specialize in representing teen drivers, are ready to put their skill and experience to work for you. Contact Pierce & Shows today.