12 NEWS DEFENDERS: Study shows teens drive unsafe used vehicles - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

12 NEWS DEFENDERS: Study shows teens drive unsafe used vehicles

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)

In less than a month school will be starting back, but there's still plenty of free time for teens to enjoy before returning to the classroom. For many that means more time behind the wheel.

Depending on what type of vehicle they drive, it could mean the difference between being a high risk driver and a safe one.

Highway crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in this country. A survey revealed that 83% of parents purchased used vehicles for their teenagers.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that many teens are not driving the safest used vehicles.

I.I.H.S. found that 28% of parents buy mini cars or small cars that often do not offer good crash protection, and more than half of vehicles bought for teens were 2006 or older, lacking the latest safety technology.

"I have a PT cruiser, which is a little convertible," said Millbrook resident Ashley Gardner. "There are a lot of blind spots for my little car especially in the back, because the convertible just kinds of covers it up so it's kind of hard to see."

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety compiled a list of used cars ranging from $4,000 to $20,000 with key features for teen drivers.

Gardner's 2006 PT Cruiser is not on the list. Something the teen's mother says she never thought about when she gave her daughter the old family car.

"No clue," Breanna Gardner said. "I will think about it now, yeah thanks."

She and more than two-thirds of parents hand down family cars. Like most parents, money was the factor.

Ronnie Martin bought his 17-year-old daughter, Elizabeth Martin, her first car at age 15. He paid $7,500 dollars for a 2003 Honda Pilot.

That particular year is not on the I-I-H-S list of recommended used vehicles, but Martin said he did his research.

"The place where I got it from gave me a very long list of all the checkpoints and it passed, and I just knew that Hondas are a reliable car," Martin said.

Both of the teens that were interviewed said they have not had a wreck while driving, however; one teen did say she was almost hit by a distracted driver who was texting while driving.

To see the I.I.H.S. recommended list, visit their website.

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