Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What You Should Know About Your Teen Driver's Education

Hello Parents of Teen Drivers!

Driving Instruction experts recommend at least 100 hours of driving experience for new drivers before driving unsupervised. Unfortunately, the driving schools just can't give this much experience and it is your responsibility to make sure your teen has this much needed experience.

There is a way that you can accomplish this and make this time most effective. To learn more, visit or watch this short video:

My friend, Master Police Officer James Poer said "Parents must take a proactive role in their child’s driving education. Unfortunately, the driving schools simply cannot provide their students the adequate experience needed to drive unsupervised.”

This time in your child's life is a very exciting time and by using a structured teen driving guidebook, you can make this a very exciting experience for your entire family.

I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What you Should Know About Insuring Your Teen Driver

Hello Parents of Teen Drivers!

It's been a crazy few months and I know I haven't written in a while. I recently married the woman I love, been traveling too much attending insurance conferences and preparing for the next StreetSafe event (coming in February BTW). No excuse for not keeping up with my postings though.

Well...I have quite a bit of new information to pass on to the parents of teen drivers. To start with, I've been working on some new videos that should help you with keeping your teen driver safe and learn more about how you should be protected.

Please feel free to watch my first video on What you Should Know About Your Insuring Your Teen Driver. This video gives great advice on how you should be protected and is already getting a huge response. I hear it is already #4 on the Google! Please feel free to add your comments.

I truly hope it gives you some valuable information on what you need to do to make sure you're protected and helps you keep your teen driver safe!

Here's the link:

I hope you and your family have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Friday, October 24, 2008

GPS Teen Tracking Systems- It Can Save Your Child's Life

By Master Police Officer III James Poer

It amazes me when I see kids speeding around town as if they are bullet proof and invincible. All too often, this is why we lose kids in car accidents. Speeding is the number one cause for teen driver deaths and it's because they really don't know better.

Once they get behind the wheel, they think they can control their car at any speed and tend to push the limits. The problem happens when they get into a situation at a high speed and can't react quickly enough. Even professional car racers sometimes can't react quickly enough at high speeds.

When you add speed to any situation, you have what is called the "multiplier" effect. This means that the faster you approach an object, the less time you have to properly react, so the speed of your reaction needs to be multiplied.

So, how can you make sure your teen doesn't speed? Of course, it's up to you to make certain they don't and there is one tool that can almost guarantee your teen driver doesn’t make this dangerous mistake. GPS Teen Monitoring System- In my opinion, this is the best thing invented since sliced bread. This system works so well because the teen understands that if he or she speeds, you will know about it.Here’s how it works.

A small gps unit is installed in your teen’s car, usually under the dash where it can’t be seen. The unit sends a signal to a satellite where it is monitored by the GPS provider. When you teen exceeds the preset speed limit, a signal is sent to you via text message, cell phone, or e-mail.You can log into a special website where you can set the speed as well as monitor where your teen’s car is at any time. You can see how fast he or she is traveling and on what roads too.

Some systems offer other safety features like driving range alerts and driving time alerts. For more information, contact your agent for special deals on these units.

During my years investigating accidents, I have seen the effects of speeding and witnessed the deaths of too many teens. If more parents had these units installed in their children’s cars, I am certain more teens would avoid fatal car accidents.

Officer Poer is a 30 year veteran accident investigator. He is also a parent of 4 drivers. His experience, conviction, and advice are demonstrated on his website- Please visit his site often and remain vigilant about your teen driver’s safety!

Original article and more information on teen driver safety can be found at

Monday, October 6, 2008

Home Study Driving Course Helps Parents and Teens Enjoy This New Rite of Passage

High Point, NC — While teenagers look forward to getting their driver’s licenses, their parents often face this juncture of their children’s lives with fear and trepidation. Car accidents are a leading cause of severe injuries and death among teenagers all across the U.S.. Local insurance agent Tom Wiecek, owner of Paramount Insurance Agency, has been committed to changing that trend in the High Point area since he learned three years ago that a long-time client’s teenage son died in a car accident. Wiecek has dedicated his resources for helping families prevent similar tragedy.

His website, contains many useful tools to help parents keep their kids safe. He also writes a free monthly e-zine, “Driver’s Seat,” for which people subscribe through the website. Recently retired, Police Officer and Accident Investigator James Poer contributes to the newsletter.

Wiecek is also a charter member of the Society of Family Insurance Specialists which is a national organization of insurance agents that are committed to helping families protect themselves through education and insurance protection.

The Society recently released the Safe Teen Driver Guide that was co-authored by Wiecek, Officer Poer, David Evans, a certified driving instructor and other members of the Society.
“One of the most common reasons why teenagers get into so many accidents is that they just don’t have enough experience behind the wheel.” Explains Wiecek. Driver education experts recommend at least 100 hours behind the wheel before driving unsupervised. Driving Schools in North Carolina are required to provide 6 hours of driving time. With the high number of students in a class, it is very difficult for the schools to provide any more than the required time.

“Parents need to take the responsibility to provide their teens with more driving experience.” Said Officer Poer. “This new home study Safe Teen Driver Guide gives parents a tool that can help their teen experience the most common driving skills while being supervised.”

The Safe Teen Driver Guide provides a step by step outline of driving skills and practice exercises that parents can use to teach their teen to drive. “This time in a child’s life is exciting and should be enjoyed by the entire family.” Says Wiecek. “By using this guide, parents can spend time with their child and make this experience most enjoyable. Plus, it gives parents peace of mind knowing that their child is a safer driver.”

You can learn more about the Safe Teen Driver Guide by visiting, or contact Tom’s office at 336.869.3335 or 866.869.3335.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

IIHS Proposes Increasing Minimum Driving Age

By Tom Wiecek, Family and Teen Driver Protection Specialist

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety announced today their proposal to increase the minimum driving age in all states in the US to age 17. Their reasons are solid and should help reduce the number of accidents involving teenagers.

The Graduated Drivers License program that almost every state has adopted has proven to work. Numbers of teen driver accidents and fatalities have decreased every year since its inception. The GDL program basically adds more supervised driving experience for teens and restricts them from driving during the times when risk is highest. However, more than 5,000 teens are killed in car accidents every year!

Although teens and many parents may not like this change, parents should understand that there are two primary reasons why 16 year olds are most likely to get into accidents- inexperience and immaturity. Parents can help their child get the experience by spending time supervising their teen behind the wheel.

Maturity, on the other hand, can only come with age. The GDL program gives the teen more time for experience but it doesn’t address the problem of immaturity. 16 year olds have the highest crash rate and fatalities of any age group and it’s largely due to peer pressure and not realizing the dangers they face.

16 year olds tend to think they are invincible behind the wheel and when other teens in their car urge them to drive fast, they cave into such pressures much easier.

Whether this proposal is passed in North Carolina or not, there are steps parents can take to reduce the likelihood of their child causing an accident.

Get a home study driving course and spend as much time possible teaching your teen the skills needed to drive safely.

Delay the time before your teen gets a full license. This will help your teen mature and give you more time to supervise your teen’s driving. This will also show how serious you are about their safety.

Get a GPS Teen Monitoring System. This will instantly reduce the likelihood of your teen driving dangerously. If your teen knows that you’ll be alerted, they will be less tempted to speed or break any other rules that you’ve set forth.

Talk to your teen about the dangers. Communication is probably the most effective way to make your teen a safer driver. Share the statistics and the most common mistakes teens make. Then get a contract in writing that states that your teen understands the dangers and will follow the rules you have set forth. You can download a free parent/teen driver contract by clicking here:

Please feel to comment on this blog or to send me your thoughts to

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tears for My Friends

Debbye, a friend of mine shared this with me and I thought I should pass this on to hopefully, help others.

Tears for My Friends
By Debbye Butler

I have a friend named Jeannette. She had a daughter and a son, until October 1986. Her daughter tested the odds of the effects of alcohol on her motor skills and judgment versus her knowledge about the roads with which she was so familiar.

The alcohol won.

Cindy never saw her 21st birthday. Jeannette, however, has to live through every one of her daughter’s candles-and-cake days — wondering what her daughter would look like now and what she would be doing with her promising life.

I have another buddy. His name is Bill. He is a devoted family man, and until a dreaded October night in 1992, he had two sons and a daughter. Now he has one son, one daughter, and 17 years of memories of a child who will never grow older. Bill, too, had to live the worst parental nightmare possible — a tired teenager with a set of car keys, a can of beer, and an invincible attitude on a late weekend night.

Both of my friends are incredibly loving people and responsible parents. They were looking forward to graduations, a son- or daughter-in-law, and grandchildren. But they have been cheated out of some of the best and most meaningful adventures in life, and nothing or no one can change that cruel, crushing reality.

Maybe you know someone who has lost a son or daughter because of this deadly combination. Maybe it’s a neighbor. Maybe it’s a friend. Maybe it’s someone in your own family. Maybe the children’s deaths were caused by another person who was driving while intoxicated.

It’s hard for me to believe I would ever have personally known one family — much less two — that would have to live through this gnawing, once-it-happens-it-never-goes-away pain. And it’s even more difficult to know what to say to them. Hugs help. But they’ll never replace the hugs from the children who are gone because of alcohol.

When Bill was saying goodbye to his son during the funeral, he did the most loving, courageous thing that any parent could do in a situation like this. With a lump in his throat that must have felt like the size of a softball, he looked out at the stunned young faces of his son’s high school friends. He said he never wanted to have to come to a funeral for this reason again. He said, “Don’t drink and drive.”

Bill told me later he hoped he didn’t sound like he was preaching. Well … I hope he did. I hope everyone listened. And I hope everyone remembers.

© Debbye Butler. Used with author’s permission. May not be reproduced in any fashion without author’s express permission. Debbye Butler is a freelance writer based in Indianapolis, Ind.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"People don't want to be inaccessible for even 15 minutes driving up the street," said Harrison, 19, a sophomore at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. "They're so used to being accessible all the time.

"Targeting inexperienced motorists, several states have passed laws during the past five years restricting cell phone use by teenage drivers.

But a recently released insurance industry study looked at whether teens are ignoring such restrictions contends enforcement and parental influence are just as important as new laws. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety studied specific state laws which fine motorists under age 18 who are caught using a cell phone.

Researchers who watched as high school students left school found that teenage drivers used their cell phones at about the same rate both before and after the laws took effect.

"Cell phone bans for teen drivers are difficult to enforce," said Anne McCartt, the institute's senior vice president for research and an author of the study. "Drivers with phones to their ears aren't hard to spot, but it's nearly impossible for police officers to see hands free devices or correctly guess how old drivers are."

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, according to the government's auto safety agency, and teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.

The institute says 17 states and the District of Columbia have cell phone restrictions in licensing requirements for teen drivers. The National Transportation Safety Board in 2003 recommended that states limit or bar young drivers from using cell phones, leading many states to act.

Harrison, who serves with Students Against Destructive Decisions, an advocacy group focused on highway safety issues, said few of her friends know about laws banning cell phone use by novice drivers.

Bill Bronrott, a Maryland state delegate who sponsored a successful bill in 2005 prohibiting rookie drivers under 18 from using cell phones, except to make 911 emergency calls, said a "combination of education and enforcement" was critical. So, too, parental involvement.
Added Barbara Harsha, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association: "What these kinds of laws do is send the message to the parent more than anything else."

In the North Carolina study, researchers found that 11 percent of teenage drivers observed departing 25 high schools during the two months before the ban took effect were using cell phones. About five months after the ban took effect, during the spring of 2007, nearly 12 percent were observed using phones.

In the North Carolina phone survey, 95 percent of parents and 74 percent of teenagers supported the restriction. But 71 percent of teens and 60 percent of parents felt that enforcement was rare or nonexistent.In North Carolina, 37 citations were issued in 2007 by the state highway patrol to teens using a cell phone while operating a vehicle. Twenty-eight citations have been issued in 2008.

Selena Childs, executive director of the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force, said in an e-mail that with many child safety laws in the state, "knowing that it's against the law is enough for many people to choose to comply with a law."

Childs said the state's driver's license system for young drivers has been effective "not so much because of law enforcement/citations, but because parents and teens self-enforce the law, resulting in reduced crashes.

"Matt Sundeen, a transportation analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said many state laws on cell phones are new, making it difficult to assess their impact. He said more states are considering similar restrictions.

The institute conducted two separate telephone surveys: the first, before the cell phone restriction took effect, was in November 2006 and involved 400 pairs of parents and teenagers; the second, after the law had taken effect, was in April 2007 and involved a different sample of 401 pairs of parents and teenagers. Each survey had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Please share your thoughts here to help keep our young drivers safe and alive!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Why Insurance Rates for Teens Are So High?

As an insurance agent, this is probably one of the most frustrating responses I get from parents who are adding their teen to their car insurance. I understand this frustration and after I explain the reasons, they usually respond with “But, my teen is a good driver…”

That may be true and you’ve probably spent countless hours helping your teen become a safer driver. If you have, then you should be glad that the chances of your teen getting into an accident will be less likely than most teens on the road. But let me emphasize… Less Likely Than Other Teens… not experienced drivers.

It takes thousands of hours behind the wheel to get the experience to avoid accidents and become the safest of drivers. And this can take years. Here’s a statistic to prove this point.

The crash rate for 16 year olds is nearly 3 times higher than 19 years and nearly 6 times higher than drivers 20 to 24 years old.

Unfortunately, you are going to have to pay high rates for your teen to drive. But, you can take steps to avoid paying the highest rates and keep them down.

Step One- Use an insurance agent that specializes in insuring teen drivers. Family Insurance Specialists represent companies that offer good rates but most importantly offer quality insurance protection that can help you avoid paying out of your own pocket for an accident if your teen causes an accident.

Step Two- Make sure you are getting every discount you deserve. Available discounts may include safe driver, claims-free, good grades, multiple policies with the same company, and in some states you can qualify for a lower rate by keeping a good credit rating.

Step Three- Buy a safe, older, lower profile vehicle for your teen to drive. Make sure it has airbags and anti-lock brakes and is not considered a dangerous vehicle. Your Family Insurance Specialist can help you decide which vehicles are least expensive to insure.

Step Four- Increase your deductibles or drop the collision on older vehicles. If your teen is driving an older, less expensive car, you can “self insure” the car. That means of course, if something happens, you’ll have to pay for the damages to your car, but it can save you a lot of money- nearly 1/3 to 1/2!

Step Five- Get a Teen Driver Monitoring Device installed in your teen’s car. Some insurance companies offer special discounts for these systems. The greatest advantage of these systems is that this will most likely prevent your teen from speeding. Speeding tickets can greatly increase your insurance rates and jeopardize your insurance coverage. Insurance companies know that if a teen driver gets a speeding ticket, the likelihood of an accident in the near future is great. You could get cancelled and it may be more difficult to get another insurance company to pick you up.

To learn more about how you can get the right protection for your teen driver, find out other ways you can save on your car insurance, and keep your teen driver safe visit my website at or call my office at 869-3335.

Monday, July 7, 2008

"Trunking"- The Latest Danger to Teens!

Just when you thought you've heard it all...

As I was doing my research for this month's issue of my Driver’s Seat e-newsletter, I came across an article about the latest killer of teens.

We all know that car accidents are the number one killer of teens in the US. Now there is a trend going across the country that is adding to the danger of a teen behind the wheel and it's referred to as "Trunking".

As a teen, I remember hearing about kids in school that would climb into a trunk to sneak into a drive-in movie. Of course, I would never partake in such an act. But today, now that the drive-in movie is obsolete, there's another reason why kids are doing this.

Almost every state in the country now has laws limiting the number of passengers during the first few years of a teen driver's experience. These laws were passed to reduce the distractions in the car that have been proven to cause so many accidents. In order to circumvent these laws, kids are now packing themselves in the trunk of the car to be able to go with their friends. The worst part is that they will stay in the trunk while being driven all over town and even beyond.

The dangers are obvious to us and include suffocation, carbon monoxide poisoning, heat exposure, freezing, being crushed or thrown out of the car as a result of an accident. You can just imagine how dangerous this could be for your child.

So what do you do? First explain the dangers and then define the consequences/punishment of this type of action. If your child is guilty, take away driving privileges and inform all the involved kids' parents of the act. You'll also want to pass this article on to other parents, just to let them know what kids are up to these days, so they can proactively counsel against it.

To sign up for a free subscription to my e-newletter, Driver’s Seat, visit my website at and register for VIP Access. You’ll also be able to learn more about you can best protect your family.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

StreetSafe Registration Now Open!


Registration is now open for the StreetSafe Teen Driver Course at GTCC Jamestown Campus on July 26th.

Go to and click the "enroll in a class" tab to sign up. There are two sessions: 9AM and 2PM.

Register NOW before it fills up! Only 120 teens will be enrolled.

Don't miss this opportunity to make your teen a safer driver!

See you on the 26th!


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Attention Parents: Street Safe Event is Filling Up!

July 26th is going to be here before we know it and everything is coming together for this exciting event.

If you didn't know about this and you are a parent of new driver, you may want to read this post.

My friend, Officer Jim Poer and I went down to Wilmington a few months ago to witness the most amazing teen driver training program we have ever seen. Well, we worked out a deal to bring the StreetSafe training team to the Triad.

Here's a description of the event:

Teens and Driving - The Deadly Equation Motor Vehicle Crashes (MVC's) are the leading cause of death for American teens; more so than drugs, guns or disease. In fact, MVC's kill more teens than the next four leading causes of death combined. Despite driver education programs across the United States, 6000 teens die in MVC's every year. It is obvious current programs are not giving teens the experience or information they need to become safe drivers.

In response to this need, the StreetSafe Teen Driving Program was created by a retired police officer. StreetSafe is a hands-on driving program offered to teenagers through S Solutions, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. StreetSafe TDP is fashioned after the Emergency Vehicle Operations Course taught to law enforcement and fire personnel. StreetSafe allows teens to witness and experience the consequences of improper motor vehicle operation, particularly in dangerous situations, but in a controlled environment. As a result, teens will gain the experience and information they need to appreciate driving safely and strive to become better drivers.

Specifically, StreetSafe gives teens the chance to experience losing control of a car, teaches them a realistic stopping distance and the hazards of distractions. It also teaches the dangers of alcohol use while driving. Teens should enroll in StreetSafe after obtaining a learner’s permit or driver’s license and are taught by law enforcement and fire personnel who are certified to operate vehicles under treacherous or emergency conditions. These instructors are all too familiar with the tragic results of unsafe teen driving. StreetSafe is not only directed at teens, but just as importantly, their parents, by teaching ways they can help their teens become safer, more responsible drivers. Parent sessions are conducted by a sitting County District Court judge and the past President of the North Carolina Drivers Education Association.

The cost is only $25 per teen driver and pre-registration has already begun. There is room for 120 teens and it is already filling up fast. You can pre-register your teen by sending an e-mail to

Young drivers with a drivers license or permit ages 15 to 21 can attend this training.
If you have any questions, please call my office at 869-3335 or send me an e-mail to

Monday, June 9, 2008

StreetSafe Comes to the Triad!

It is finalized! But, you must act fast to enroll!

The Teen Driving program, StreetSafe is coming to the Triad on Saturday, July 26th. This 4 hour event to be held at the GTCC- Jamestown Campus will give teens a "behind the wheel" experience of the most common dangerous situations that cause accidents.

A few months ago, my friend, Officer James Poer of the High Point PD and I had the opportunity to visit the Wilmington-based program in action which is presented by emergency response professionals. We were both so amazed at the effect it had on the teenagers and parents alike, that we were compelled to bring this event to the triad- to help our families make their teens safer drivers. So, here we are. It's lined up.

Here's a description of the program:
Specifically, StreetSafe gives teens the chance to experience losing control of a car, teaches them a realistic stopping distance and the hazards of distractions. It also teaches the dangers of alcohol use while driving. Teens should enroll in StreetSafe after obtaining a learner’s permit or driver’s license and are taught by law enforcement and fire personnel who are certified to operate vehicles under treacherous or emergency conditions. These instructors are all too familiar with the tragic results of unsafe teen driving. StreetSafe is not only directed at teens, but just as importantly, their parents, by teaching ways they can help their teens become safer, more responsible drivers.

If you want to pre-register, send an e-mail to We expect this course to fill up quickly, especially considering the cost is only $25 per teen driver. You will receive an e-mail with instructions as soon as registration begins.

So, if you want to better prepare your teen for the dangers they face, sign up now!


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Study Explains the Staggering Cost of Insuring Teen Drivers

Ask any parent who has just added a kid to the family's insurance policy and they'll tell you how expensive it is to have a teen behind the wheel. But the overall cost of teen driving is as tragic as it is staggering.

According to a recent report from AAA, car accidents involving drivers 15 to 17 cost society more than $34 billion in medical expenses, property damage and related costs in 2006. AAA also reports, in 2006 drivers ages 15 to 17 were involved in approximately 974,000 crashes that injured 406,427 people and killed 2,541. Here are more sobering statistics:
  • According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among U.S. teens, accounting for 36 percent of all deaths in this age group.
  • The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16- to 19-year-olds than among any other age group, and per-miles-driven teens ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to crash, says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
  • Risk is highest at age 16, and the crash rate per miles driven is twice as high for 16 year olds as it is for 18 and 19 year olds, according to the IIHS.
  • IIHS statistics show that 16- and 17-year-old driver death rates increase with each additional passenger.

Parents can reduce the high cost of insuring their teen drivers. There are special discounts that can really make a big difference in how much you will have to pay for your teen to drive. Some of these discounts include:

  • Good Student- If you teen driver has a "B" average or better, you can save up to 10%.
  • Multi-policy- If you insure your home and cars with the same company, you can save up to 15% on both policies
  • GPS Teen Driver Monitoring System- There is one company that offers a 15% discount for installing this unit in the teen driver's car
  • Safe Driver- If your family has a clean driving and claims record, you can save up to 15%
  • Good credit- Some companies reward responsible customers based on their credit. This can be very significant and can save you as much as 35%.

The bottom line is that the most responsible families will pay the lowest premium. Stress to your teen that avoiding tickets and accidents is most critical to not only keeping your insurance rates down, but of course, assure the safety of your teen driver and others.

You can learn more about ways to save on your insurance and how you can keep your teen safe by visiting my website at

Wishing you and your family the best in health, happiness and prosperity.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

News Alert! Free Installation of GPS Teen Driver Monitoring System


I just received some exciting news from one of our insurance companies, Safeco. This company has been on the leading edge of teen driver safety and working to reduce the number of accidents involving teen drivers.

Last summer, they launched a new system called Teensurance to help their customers keep their kids safe. This is a GPS based system that is installed in the teen's car and alerts parents of dangerous behaviors such as speeding, driving beyond an allowed territory and breaking curfew.

Well, Safeco just announced that they are now offering this system to any parent that wants to get this system installed in their kid's vehicle. They will pay for the installation and the unit if the parent agrees to a 2 year contract. Similar systems can cost as much as $800.

There is a $14.99 per month monitoring fee which gives the parent website access to create and adjust the parameters for the alerts, view the location of the vehicle and it will even allow you to un-lock the car doors in case your teen gets locked out.

Along with the GPS system comes roadside assistance and other teen driver safety tools.
If you would like more information, visit my website or call my office at 869-3335.


PS Safeco is offering a 15% discount for anyone that is a Safeco customer or that becomes a customer. This 15% discount, in most cases, will pay for the monitoring fee just from the savings on their insurance. Call my office to become a Safeco customer and take advantage of this big discount. Considering the high rates for teen drivers, this could really be significant.

Monday, May 26, 2008

5 Most Common Mistakes Teen Drivers Make

This is an article my friend, Officer Jim Poer wrote on teen driver safety. I thought you should read it…

The hardest part of my job is having to knock on a parent's door to deliver the worst news they could ever get. After 30 years of investigating accidents, this is the part of my job I wish I never had to do. That is why I am committed to helping you make your teen a safer driver.

This month, I want to share with you the 5 most common mistakes that lead to teen driver accidents and fatalities.

Mistake #1- Speeding. There is a multiplier effect when it comes to speed. The faster you go, the amount of time required to stop is multiplied and at higher speeds, the time required to stop is greatly increased.

Kids don't understand this, the physics side of driving that is. They assume they can stop when they want and unfortunately they don't get this knowledge from their driver's education class.

Speed also leads to other common mistakes such as the second most common mistake.

Mistake #2- Over-Correcting. When a teen driver gets into a situation where they need to correct the direction of the vehicle, they often times, over-correct causing loss of control. When you add speed to this effect, the reaction is almost always an over correction that can't be brought back under control.

Mistake #3- Distractions. This is the subject of my latest blog and you can read more on this at The problem these days is that kids have way too many things in their cars to distract them. Cell phones, mp-3 players, and text messaging, to name a few. But the biggest distraction is usually other kids in the car.

Mistake #4- Following too close. Just as I described in Mistake #1, when a vehicle is following too close at a high rate of speed, the ability to avoid a collision is reduced to almost nothing if that vehicle's driver decides to suddenly stop.

Mistake #5- Failure to Yield. Many accidents occur when a teen driver fails to yield to another driver when the other driver legally has the right of way. Failing to check for other vehicles in the blind spot, or not accurately estimating the closing rate of another vehicle are also very common problems.

Master Police Officer III James Poer

Officer Poer is a 30 year veteran accident investigator with the High Point Police Department. He is also a parent of 4 drivers. His experience, conviction, and advice is demonstrated on his website- Please visit his site often and remain vigilant on your teen driver’s safety!

In my next posting, I will share with you what Officer Poer says on How to Prevent Your Teen From Making These Mistakes!

You can also learn more at my website

Wishing you and your family the best in health, happiness and prosperity!


Friday, May 23, 2008

Tom's Clients and Teensurance Featured on ABC World News

Last week, ABC contacted me to help them find a family that has used the GPS tracking system for teen drivers called Teensurance that we offer. I called my long-time clients, Jack and Dana Hamilton and they quickly agreed to help.

They have become huge fans of the system and want to help any way they to spread the word about this valuable tool for keeping kids safe.

Well, on Monday, ABC sent over a production team to the Hamilton's house in High Point. What a production! After four and half hours, they had enough footage for the one minute and 45 second spot.

It was exciting to see the story on national television during the Tuesday night broadcast at 6:30pm .

If you would like to see their story and learn more about Teensurance click here:

If you would like to find out more and have this system installed for your teen driver, call my office at 336-869-3335 or visit my website at

PS I know how you can get this system installed for FREE. Just get in touch with my office or visit my website and I'll show you how!

Put Your Teen Through the Paces Before Going Out On Their Own!

The drivers education in-car training provided by our public school systems is really only a starting point for teaching your teen to drive safely. I recommend no less than 100 hours driving time for your child with the parent in the passenger seat before you let them out on their own.

One of the things that you should do when teaching your child how to drive is teach them how to deal with stressful and dangerous situations while you are there to talk them through it. For example, I advise that you take them to an abandoned, low traffic road and with them observing in the passenger seat, you drive car the off the road and talk them through the process of getting the car back on the road in a safe manner.

Too often, young drivers faced with this situation will overcorrect and jerk the wheel to forcefully. This can lead to them losing control of the vehicle. Let them gain experience with this type of emergency maneuver while you are teaching and talking them through it. When you feel that they are ready, have them drive off the road and bring the car safely back on to the road.

Another great learning experience is 5:00 traffic. They are going to have to drive in it eventually; don’t you want to make sure that you have taught them how before they tackle it on their own? Make it a point, when you think they are ready, to have them drive in stressful traffic situations, including traffic to and from ball games and concerts. If they have done this with you in the passenger seat, then when they are doing with a distracting friend in the seat beside them, they stand a much better chance of handling this safely.

Try to think of any other situations that might require your help and seek those out while you are still training them. We have a complete soup to nuts Teen Driver Training guide available to all of our insurance clients. This 47 page book will walk you through the process of teaching your child safe driving habits from vehicle maintenance to traffic lights, to highway safety and even includes a chapter on map reading. If you want to know more about this guide you can contact us by visiting our web site at

Monday, May 19, 2008

Set a Good Example!

When most teenagers reach about 14 years of age, they begin to think about driving. Obviously some children dream about this more than others but what is important to you as a parent, is how they might imagine themselves as a driver.

Where do they get their persona as a driver? Where do they learn habits?

The answer is, they learn a lot from watching you drive. They will pick up your good and your bad habits and that is why as a parent, you must really monitor your own driving while your young teens are in the car. You should begin to model good driving behavior and even talk about that behavior with your children.

Here is a short list of the Don’ts:

While your young teens are in the car, don’t:
· Eat and drive. Make sure that they see you giving your full attention to your driving.
· Talk on your phone while driving. I know this one is hard to break but when your child tries this while driving it is the equivalent of having them drink a few stiff ones and then try driving. It is also illegal in NC for a teen driver to use the phone while driving.
· Run the yellow light. Teach your teens not to gamble with yellow lights. Their judgment is not as well developed as yours and this behavior can end in tragedy.
· Follow too closely. This is something you shouldn’t do at any time but when your child is in the car they will get a sense for what is the correct following distance. Show them by leaving enough space between you and the car in front of you.
· Drive aggressively. Again, they will model what you do. Teach them to be a courteous and respectful driver. It might make you late a few times but what is that to saving their life.
· Speed. Your children should respect the speed limit. This will save them money in tickets and attorney’s fees, but it will probably also save their life. 33% of teen driver fatalities are due to excessive speed.

Ok, enough with the negatives. Here are a few things you should do when your teens ride with you:
· Always use your seatbelt. And always insist that all passengers wear theirs as well.
· Use turn signals and practice “accurate” driving. Talk to your teens about this.
· Keep your car maintained and the windshield clean. Also check for tire wear and tire pressure as well.
· Come to a complete stop at all stop signs
· Slow down in bad weather. Tell your teens that you are driving a bit slower and leaving more distance from the car in front today because the bad weather makes the driving that much more dangerous.

These are just a few tips that you can use. I’m sure you can think of even more to help your child become a safer driver so that you can get through this time in your life without a tragedy.

For more help on teen driving safety, please visit my web site at

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

After School Hours Are Dangerous For Teen Drivers

Most parents only really get concerned about their teen driver children when they head out on the road at night. And rightfully so. That is a very dangerous time. But a recent study shows that the time right after school is also are very high risk time for teen drivers.

This study by AAA indicates that weekday afternoon driving time is just as dangerous for teens as night driving. The researchers studied the number of fatal crashes involving teens between 2002 and 2005. They found that 16 and 17 years olds were involved in almost as many fatal crashes between 3 and 5 pm on weekdays as they were on Friday and Saturday nights between 9 pm and 2 am. There were 1100 weekday fatal accidents and 1237 weekend evening fatal accidents.So what can you as a parent do about this?

Well, here are several suggestions:

1. Establish some specific driving rules with your teen. Be consistent in enforcing both the rules and the consequences when the rules are broken.

2. Impose an absolute ban on cell phone use while your teen is driving. Don’t call them yourself when you know that they are driving.

3. Require that your teen use a seatbelt any and every time they are traveling in any vehicle whether as a driver or a passenger. You must do the same to reinforce the importance of this.

4. Don’t allow your teen driver to carry passengers during the first 3 months or more of driving. Let them get used to being out there on their own before they add the distractions of passengers.

5. Don’t permit your teen to ride with other teen drivers. I know this will be a hard sell in these times of high gas prices but until you know just how safe the other teen driver is, you really should not permit your child to ride with him or her.

6. Make your rules known to other adults in your teen’s life. This can help provide an extra set of eyes when you are not around.

7. Install a GPS monitoring system in your child’s car. When they know that you are watching all of the time, their driving habits will be safer.

To get more safety tips and to find out how you can get a GPS tracking system installed in your child’s car for free, visit my web site at or call my office at 336-869-3335

Friday, April 18, 2008

Prom Season is Here!


This is an exciting time of the year for teens. Prom season, graduation, and the upcoming summer break are all on their minds.

This is also a time when, more than any other time of the year, parents must remain vigilant on their teen driver's safety. Why? Because this is when the number of teen driver accidents increase along with the number of deaths.

So, what can you do?

First, start by talking with your teen. Express your concerns and stress the importance of not drinking and driving. This discussion with your teen will help them understand the dangers as well as the responsiblity they have to their passengers and others on the road.

Second, consider getting a contract between you and your teen driver. You can get a copy by visiting my website at This contract will put in writing the rules they must follow in order to continue enjoying their priviledge of driving.

Third, make sure your teen understands that you are always willing to pick them up, no matter what time it is, if they have been drinking. You may not know whether your teen drinks alcohol, but statistics prove that the majority do. Don't take a chance because you think your teen doesn't drink. Just make sure that if they ever get into a situation where they even had one drink, they should never get behind the wheel. Let them know that you'll be glad to pick them up.

Best of luck during this dangerous time and I wish you and your family good health, happiness and prosperity!


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Teen Driver GPS Monitoring Systems

In my opinion, this is the greatest technological breakthrough for parents and their teen driver's safety. Before I go over the benefits to parents, let me explain how these systems work.
A little "black box" is installed usually under the dash where it can't be seen. This "black box" is basically a small computer that records it's exact location and is hooked up to certain features in the car- door locks and sometimes the ignition. It has a built-in antennae that send and receives signals to a satellite.
This data can be viewed from a website that is hosted by the GPS provider. Parents can monitor the vehicle's location and speed by visiting the website. Most systems can also allow the user to set alerts for speeding, braking curfew, or driving beyond a pre-designated area. These alerts can be sent by text message, e-mail or a phone call. It can also be used to un-lock the car doors in case the teen leaves the keys in the car- most parents would love this feature!
Since speeding is the leading cause of teen driver deaths, this tool is a must for parents!
I have been able to work out special pricing for systems like this that can allow parents to save 50% on these units and in some cases parents, can get this system installed for free! Go to my website for more details-