by Ron Lieber
- So your teenager needs a car. Or maybe you need the teenager to have a car so you can get out of the chauffeuring business.
But not a new car, right? No child needs that. Still, it has to be safe, with all of the latest safety equipment so if the driver does get careless, possibly as a result of texting, the car electronics will step in to help avoid a crash.
The car calculus has changed for parents, as technology that senses lane departures and collision hazards on the road ahead has become more widely available. And while indulgent parents the world over continue to use safety as an excuse for tying a red ribbon around a new car for their teenagers, it probably is not necessary.
If safety comes first — and it should with adolescent drivers — consider the statistics and then examine the options.
In 2013, the most recent year for which statistics were available, 2,839 teenage drivers were involved in crashes in which they or others died, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In those accidents, 294 of the drivers were distracted and 45 were using mobile phones.