IIHS Says Teens Shouldn’t Have High-Horsepower Cars

It’s no secret that teenagers who are new to the road are some of the riskiest drivers out there. So when it’s time for a new driver’s first set of wheels, many young people and their parents opt for something cute and inexpensive — in other words, small. But the IIHS says that in terms of safety, that’s a mistake. They also report that, to no surprise, they do not recommend teens get cars with a lot of power.

There are four major things parents should be aware of when shopping for a car for their teenager’s vehicle, Jessica Cicchino, vice president for research at IIHS says. This applies to both new and used vehicles.

IIHS recently conducted a pair of front-to-front crash tests demonstrating what happens to small cars and minicars — even new ones with stellar safety ratings — when they collide with larger used vehicles from the same manufacturer. The results show the importance of size and weight when it comes to protection. The tests reinforce a message IIHS has been sending since it began publishing an annual list of recommended used vehicles for teens in 2014: An older, larger used vehicle is often a safer choice than a newer small vehicle that costs the same. This year’s list of recommended vehicles for teens includes 53 Best Choices, which start under $20,000, and 62 Good Choices, which start under $10,000. All the models on both lists are midsize cars or larger.

“We know safety is just one of the factors people consider when choosing a vehicle, but we hope parents will give it extra consideration when purchasing a vehicle for a teenager,” says Jessica Cicchino. “Teen drivers are at greater risk, due to immaturity and inexperience behind the wheel.”

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