April 05, 2016

Missouri Department of Insurance reminds drivers to stay focused during Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Vehicle accidents kill more teens each year than any other single cause

Jefferson City, Mo. - The Missouri Department of Insurance reminds Missouri motorists to stay focused while driving. In recognition of April's designation as Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the department's MO Eyes on the Road campaign released a PSA reminding parents to engage teens in a dialogue about safety behind the wheel.

"As our family adds a new driver onto our auto policy, we know it is critically important to be involved and discuss safe driving habits with our teen," said Director John M. Huff. "Take advantage of the department's web resources that highlight ways to discuss safe driving habits with your teenager and the benefits of being a good student for auto insurance coverage rates.  Then, shop around your family's auto insurance coverage in Missouri's competitive auto insurance market."

According to the most recent completed data, the Missouri State Highway Patrol estimates that auto accidents caused 48,753 deaths and injuries in 2014. While those numbers are significant for all Missourians, the Center for Disease Control reports that vehicle accidents kill more teens each year than any other single cause. In 2014, young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 accounted for 12,627 deaths and injuries in Missouri. 

"The most devastating consequence of distracted driving can be the loss of life, but distracted driving can cause serious physical injury and substantial financial loss, as well," said Huff. "All drivers need to focus on the road ahead when behind the wheel."

For parents of new drivers, these numbers may be especially alarming. As new drivers, teens can be uniquely susceptible to the dangers of distracted driving. To raise awareness, the MO Eyes on the Road campaign has produced a PSA featuring Director Huff and his daughter, who recently received her drivers' license. The PSA promotes a teen driver contract designed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). As the PSA shows, the contract can facilitate an important discussion between parents and teens about safe and attentive driving habits.

The Missouri Department of Insurance offers this advice to parents of new drivers:

  • Parents should exhibit and model the safe driving behaviors they want their children to adopt.
  • Consider increasing liability limits due to the additional risk exposure of a teen driver.
  • Teens need to be listed as a driver on your policy as soon as they are legally allowed to operate a vehicle.
  • Apps currently exist that lock phones for safe driving.
  • To start a discussion with your teen driver, print the NAIC's Teen Driver Contract.

For more advice and resources, please visit MO Eyes on the Road