CHICAGO- As we approach the last days of summer, many college kids are loading their cars and hitting the roads to in the next few weeks. Traffic congestion, distracted driving and other factors are creating dangerous road conditions and contributing to increases in the frequency of auto accidents, which is why the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is urging parents to encourage their young drivers to stay focused on the roads as they head back to school this month.
U.S. traffic deaths increased nearly 8 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to data recently released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“Distracted driving is thought to be one of the leading causes for the rise in vehicle accidents nationwide,” said Bob Passmore, PCI’s assistant vice president of personal lines policy. “Whether it’s making a quick call, firing off a text, catching Pokemon, or adjusting the navigation system, all too often we can cause or fail to avoid a crash.”
There are distractions all around us in the car, which is why it’s up to parents to remind young drivers to put down the phones, and stay focused on the road.
“Keeping our kids safe is the first priority and as a parent of three young drivers every time they get in the car and drive off it can be somewhat worrisome. The first step is for parents to set a good example,” said Passmore.
There are a number of ways that motorists, policymakers, insurers and car makers can work together to make roads safer and keep insurance costs stable. Raising awareness about these alarming statistics, addressing the unsafe activities that cause crashes and supporting innovative technologies that protect drivers are key.
For more information visit PCI website: Auto Safety and Consumer Costs or follow us on twitter use #HeadsUp
PCI’s 7 Driving Safety Tips:
1. Whether you’re taking a summer get-away or just running errands around town, we encourage you to buckle up, drive safely and try to be prepared for those who may not. Seat belts save lives and help prevent injuries. Also, make sure kids are in the proper car or booster seats.
2. Plan ahead and allow extra travel time. With more people on the roads, often driving in unfamiliar territory, the potential for a traffic crash increases. We encourage motorists to plan their routes in advance when traveling to new destinations, be patient, and allow for extra travel time.
3. Observe speed limits, including lower speeds in work zones. Stay focused on the road and aware of changing traffic patterns caused by construction. Please be cautious of the construction workers themselves, who are often in close proximity to the highway — and at great risk.
4. Avoid distracted driving. When the entire family is traveling in the car, the opportunity for distraction is multiplied. Remember to put the phone down, and never text while driving. Be careful when eating on the run, as lunch can be just as distracting as a cell phone. Buckle up or secure pets in the back of the car.
5. Beware of crash taxes. Although they have been banned or limited in several states, many cities, counties and fire districts will charge the at-fault driver for emergency response costs in an auto accident. Fees range from $100 to over $2,000 for response services. The average cost is $200. A typical insurance policy does not cover the cost of a fire truck responding to an accident.
6. Have a plan for roadside assistance. If an accident occurs, be wary of unscrupulous towing companies. Have the phone number for your insurer or a roadside assistance program ready so you know who to call. Some towing companies take advantage of drivers after an accident and you could find yourself facing excessive fees or complications recovering your car from the tow yard.
7. Update your proof of insurance. Before hitting the road, make sure to replace any expired insurance identification cards in the event you need to prove you have insurance during a traffic stop.