Report: Your teen’s car might not be as safe as you think

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Experts say many teenagers are driving vehicles that lack important safety technology and don’t offer good crash protection.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety surveyed 500 parents of teen drivers to help compile a list of affordable used vehicles. Eighty-three percent of those parents said the vehicle they bought for their teen driver was used and not new, and more than half of those vehicles were from model years 2006 or earlier.

Teens killed in crashes are more likely to have been behind the wheel of small vehicles and older vehicles, the IIHS said. The median price for a teen’s vehicle was $5,300 according to the parents surveyed.

“A teenager’s first car is more than just a financial decision,” says IIHS President Adrian Lund. “These lists of recommended used vehicles can help consumers factor in safety, in addition to affordability.”

The IIHS says bigger, heavier vehicles protect better in a crash and young drivers should stay away from high-horsepower vehicles. Their vehicle should have the best safety ratings possible, and ESC (electronic stability control) is a must for helping the driver control the vehicle on curves and slippery roads.

Of larger cars, the 2010 and later Saab 9-5 sedan was ranked best by the IIHS. Among older large cars, they favored the 2005 and later Acura RL. Midsize models that made the IIHS list of recommended vehicles included the Subaru Legacy (2009 and later) and the Toyota Prius v (2012 and later).

The IIHS also ranked minivans and small and midsize SUVs on the list.

To see IIHS complete list of recommended vehicles for teens, click here.