News: 2012 Press Release
For Release: October 17, 2012
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Urges Teens To Remember Risks Of Driving During National Teen Driver Safety Week
Honors Legacy of Local High School Student
In recognition of National Teen Driver Safety Week, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones joined the Automobile Club of Southern California and the Conor Lynch Foundation to stress the importance of developing safe teen driving habits. At Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Commissioner Jones urged teenagers and their parents to avoid risks that often lead to auto accidents.
"As we commemorate National Teen Driver Safety Week, we must remind our teens that driving a vehicle is serious business," said Commissioner Jones. "A haunting fact is that teen drivers, in general, have the highest percentage of auto crashes of any drivers."
The California Highway Patrol found that in 2010 (the most recent data available) there were 57,000 drivers between the ages of 16 to 19 involved in collisions in California. Of those crashes, teens were found to be at fault in 67 percent of those accidents.
"The stats are clear and sobering," said Jones. "Teens and the car crashes they're involved in can have devastating consequences."
Sixteen-year-old Conor Lynch was killed two years ago by a distracted and unlicensed teen driver. Conor's legacy continues due to the hard work of his parents and the creation of the Conor Lynch Foundation.
"No parent should have to endure what Jeri and Mark Lynch have been through," said Commissioner Jones. "I want to personally thank them for their effort to turn their tragedy into something that will have a lasting positive impact on families confronting the challenges of teen driving."
The Commissioner urged teens and their families to make sure they maintain proper insurance and take advantage of available discounts to young drivers who complete approved driver safety courses or maintain proper academic standing by being enrolled as a student with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
In addition to insurance discounts, Commissioner Jones strongly urges parents to talk to their teenagers about driving and make certain that they observe a few simple, safe-driving guidelines to avoid becoming another fatality statistic:
- Drive at the speed limit and adjust your speed down for night driving and road conditions such as rain, snow, ice, or fog.
- Drive defensively. Look out for other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and animals.
- Keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you.
- Always wear your seat belt. It's the law and seat belts have saved countless lives.
- Know how to work the controls and quickly check the instrument panel of your car. Playing around with the radio, cruise control, cell phone, or any other instrument control is dangerous and decreases your concentration.
- Pay attention when you drive. The most important thing to do when driving is driving.
- Drive sober and never text and drive.
- Ride only with sober drivers. Offer to drive if the driver has been drinking or spring for a taxi.
- Allow plenty of time to get where you're going.
- Make sure your car is in good working order.
"Parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts-be proactive, talk to the teen drivers in your lives," added Commissioner Jones. "Share your driving experiences and expectations with them. Having a teen driver in your household can be nerve-wracking. Speak to them about safe driving before tragedy strikes. Your guidance could have a profound impact."
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2013 the California Department of Insurance received more than 170,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $63 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.