At a press conference on the first day of summer, California State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones joined AAA Insurance, Dr. Richard Harkness, CEO of ADEPT Driver – the maker of teenSMART, and Bryan Lilly, a retired CHP officer who is the parent of teenagers, to urge teen drivers to focus on safety when behind the wheel.
"Teen drivers have the highest percentage of auto crashes of any drivers and, sadly, thiscan lead to tragic consequences," Commissioner Jones said.
"That's why it is important for parents, teachers – all of us – to regularly take the time and educate our kids about becoming safe drivers and learning crash avoidance techniques."
The summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day are called the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers. At the press conference teenSMART was highlighted as a resource that teens can use to improve their driving skills and avoid danger.
"We used a scientific model to identify the leading causes of teen driver car crashes," said Dr. Harkness. "teenSMART specifically addresses these causes through the use of realistic and challenging computer-based driving simulations that improve driver skills and help teens avoid risk when they are driving. We are proud to partner with leading insurance companies that offer discounts for teens who complete the teenSMART program due to its proven crash reduction."
teenSMART is a crash reduction program that teens complete on their home computer at their own pace in combination with parent-teen activities that incorporate videos, workbook exercises, and driving exercises. It focuses on the six main causes of teen driver crashes:
• Visual Search
• Hazard Detection
• Risk Perception
• Speed Adjustment
• Space Management
• Lifestyle Issues
teenSMART is the most tested and evaluated driver crash reduction program available, and measurably improves driving skills. teenSMART has been clinically proven to reduce teen driver crashes by up to 30%. Teens that complete the program have fewer traffic citations, fewer accidentsandfewer deductible payouts.
A number of leading insurance companies offer discounts for teens that complete the teenSMART program, including Allstate, AAA, and Liberty Mutual.
"Allstate supports teen driver safety through research," said Jeffery L. Thomas, territorial product manager for Allstate Insurance. "The teenSMART program was developed over 12 years ago with funding and support from Allstate. teenSMART is a science based program designed to reduce teen car crashes. We have observed the performance of teenSMART for many years and see that teens that complete the program have fewer collisions and injuries. That is why we are proud to offer a significant discount for those that complete the teenSMART program here in California. We want our teens to be safe on the road and know they are in good hands."
"AAA Insurance has been an advocate for teen driver safety for decades," said Matthew Hardin, regional vice president for AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah Insurance Exchange. "We offer the teenSMART discount because want teen drivers to have the best tools available to remain safe on the road.We find thatteens that complete the program have fewer crashes with less severe outcomes. That is why we recommend and provide up to a 20% discount for teenSMART in Northern California."
Kathleen Bissell, assistant vice president and senior regional director of public affairs for Liberty Mutual Insurance, said, "Liberty Mutual is a leader in driver safety research. We have a dedicated team that focuses on young drivers and how to keep them safe. teenSMART is a key component in our mission to keep young drivers safe on the road and out of the hospital. We pilot tested the performance of teenSMART several years ago in California and observed significant crash reduction with less severe crashes among the teens that completed the program. That is why we offer a 20% discount for those that complete the teenSMART program in California. Liberty Mutual is rolling out teenSMART nationwide. Teen drivers are very important to Liberty Mutual and learning crash avoidance techniques now will give our teen drivers skills they can use for a lifetime."
In 2004, the California Department of Insurance eliminated teen driver discounts that were not justified by reduced crashes and real outcomes. teenSMART was the first program to qualify under these new standards and seven years later remains the only teen driver program that justifies a 20% discount in California.
"I applaud the insurance commissioner for raising the bar on teen crash reduction and encouraging the development of teen driver programs that are research based and effective," said Dr. Harkness.