Choosing a Safe Vehicle for Your Teenager

Car crashes are the number one killer of American teenagers, with about 20 young people dying on U.S. highways each day. Yet a recent survey found less than half of parents check on the safety of the vehicle they're considering for their teens.

To help drive down crash statistics, a number of families and organizations have public programs to help make teen drivers safer. For example, Carfax, a company consumers use to check the history of used cars, recently launched the Carfax Safe Car-Safe Teen Driver Program. It features an interactive website with comprehensive information on safe driving and an e-mail service that sends weekly tips to parents and teens.

The company has gathered information and resources from a vast array of the industry's top experts. Many of the e-mail tips are designed to remind parents of techniques they may already be practicing every time they get behind the wheel-but that they may be hard pressed to remember when instructing their eager teen.

In addition to driving information, experts at Carfax offer valuable advice to help parents choose safe, reliable cars for novice teen drivers. They recommend parents:

• Buy old, large cars such as station wagons or four-door sedans with small engines for their teens. These vehicles tend to be more solid than many smaller cars and can better withstand impacts.

• Learn the vehicle history. Has the vehicle been in a crash before? Has it been rebuilt? Was it in a flood? These are the types of details in a vehicle's history that can affect how safe it is today.

• Do not race into buying cars for their teens. Waiting just one year can help keep a teen safer. Sixteen-year-old drivers are 12 times more likely to be involved in vehicle crashes than any other age group.

For more information, visit and click on the Teen link.

When buying a used car for your teen, be sure to check its history. That can tell you if it has been rebuilt in the past and if it's not as safe as it could be.

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