For now, the DDS has suspended the in-person driving test for new drivers:

As the world continues to find ways to adjust to COVID, so much come new rules.

While drivers do not have to pass the in-person test, they still must meet the same old requirements, which include 40 hours of supervised driving. (https://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/it-just-got-easier-in-georgia-for-new-drivers-to-get-a-license-for-now)

This will place a far greater emphasis on parents riding shotgun and slamming their imaginary brakes!

While some worry parents will simply sign off on the 40 hours, I do not think this will be the case.  Parents irrationally love their children.  Heck, my own mom didn’t let me spend the night at other people’s houses during the school year.  Even now as a younger father, I often find myself hovering over my boys.  I think parents go through a lot of trust exercises with their kids when they begin to drive, almost like a right of passage.

What causes the most accidents?

As an insurance agent, the vast majority of losses are slow, low impact collisions.  These collisions come from intersections, where there is an unexpected need for acceleration or braking.  Time on the road allows people to better judge these distances, and there is no substitution for experience.

Distracted driving

It should not be a surprise that an insurance agent is talking about distracted driving.  Cell phones limit the vision of the driver and are a leading cause of accidents in our state.  Since teen drivers do not have very much experience, adding distracted driving to the complexities of driving creates a recipe for disaster.  Parents, please have a heart to heart with your teenagers about the real risks of distracted driving.  Make a deal, every time they get into the car, put their cell phone in the trunk.  Out of sight out of mind.

Parking

I would also ask parents to place a fair amount of time talking about parking.  I would start at the back of a parking lot.  If I had my way, I would ask every single one of my clients to BACK into their parking spots.  I can’t tell you how many claims come from BACKING OUT of a parking spot.  Whereas losses stemming from backing INTO a parking spot is nonexistent.

Insurance

Adding a teenage driver will typically DOUBLE your insurance premium.  Take a deep breath…now you know that it is coming, you here are a few things to help with that cost.

Telematics

Many insurance companies are providing big discounts for drivers who allow them to track their driving behaviors.  For Travelers and Safeco, it is a 90 day period then it is over.  The discount stays on the policy as long as you have the policy. Yet be mindful, some conditions allow the carrier to increase your rate if they find out you have a lead foot.

Pay in full

Paying the policy term in full, be it a six or twelve-month policy comes with a big discount.  Consider saving your tax refund or stimulus check in order to save a few hundred dollars on your insurance policy.

If all else fails, shop

No amount of loyalty or equity will change the minds of underwriters.  No matter what your current agent loves your loyalty, sometimes insurance companies ask you to leave by showing you a price that forces you to shop.  No insurance company LIKES inexperienced drivers, but some companies can tolerate them more than others.  So contact your local independent insurance agent and get a quote, we have saved our clients over 100,000 over the last year.  It isn’t magic, it is just a choice.

Get out there and drive!

With gas prices being at a low last seen in the ’90s, and social distancing in place now is a wonderful time to create memories with your soon to be an adult teenager.  While the State can sign off on providing a license, it is ultimately up to the parents to instruct and practice with their teenagers to ensure they have the right tools and habits to get to and from their destination safely.