Massachusetts law

What You Need to Know About Teen Drivers & Insurance

When a teenager brings home their driving learner’s permit there are mixed feelings felt throughout the household. Teenagers ecstatic, their freedom and independence from mom and dad has become a reality. Parents on the other hand need to think about their child – and possibly vehicle’s – safety, insurance, a new/ used or shared vehicle, and new rules. Before a teenager is licensed it’s important to know about insurance needs and teenage driving laws. Read the following bullets for a good overview of what you need to know concerning teen drivers & insurance:

  • Be prepared to insure your teenager: Massachusetts requires, by law, that once your teenager earns their licnese and is living in the same household you must add them to your policy. This is something you should talk to your auto insurance agent about when your teenager earns their learner’s permit.
  • For the lucky ones – choosing a vehicle: Know when purchasing a vehicle for your teen you need to focus on not only how much it will cost to insure, but it’s safety as well. An article by the Milford Daily News pointed out that SUVs have a higher roll over rate as they have a higher center of gravity. The article explained that the size of an SUV may give teenagers a false sense of security although they are more prone to roll overs. Smaller vehicles, such as a two door coupe, carry the risk of more serious injuries and fatalities. Researching crash test results, safety reviews, and road tests will help you determine what vehicle is right for your teenager.
  • Know your premium will go up: Auto insurance premiums depend on a number of factors including: year, make and model of the insured vehicle, number of years licensed, zip code/ location, etcetera. Be prepared to pay an extra premium as teenage drivers are a higher risk to insure and can be costly when adding to a policy.
  • Be aware of Massachusetts learner’s permit laws: If your teenager is younger than 18 years they will be driving with a Junior Permit. For the first six months of driving your teenager may not drive friends unless a licensed driver of 21 years or more is in the front passenger seat. Until age 18 your teenager is restricted from driving between 12:30 and 5a.m. unless with a guardian. On the first offense violating this curfew a teenager will face a $100 fine and 60- day license suspension. Speeding is another great concern for teen drivers thus Massachusetts has imposed strict laws with serious consequences if caught speeding on a junior licnese. When a teenager receives his or her first speeding ticket they will face: a 90 day licnese suspension, $50 licnese reinstatement fee, required to take a Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course and State Courts Against Road Rage course (costing approximately $75 each), and must pass the learner’s permit exam and road exam.
  • Advanced driving courses = benefits: Advanced driving courses, although not required to gain or maintain a licnese, these courses give young drivers better knowledge of what to be aware of while driving. Additionally, various auto insurance carriers will give discounts to those who have completed an advanced driving course.

For more information and tips for safe teen driving please visit the National Safety Council: Teen Driving Website.

New Emission Free Vehicle: Villager LSV

Judeth Van Hamm and Michael Connelly driving their new completely electric, zero emission Villager.

(Boston Globe, “Slowly Does If for a Cleaner Way of Living“)

The new Street Villager LSV, much resembling that of a golf cart, is the new emission free way to get around town. Driving on roads with a speed limit of 30 mph or less these nifty vehicles carry up to four adults, never stopping for gas. The Villagers can go about 20 miles before needing to be recharged. Making it the ideal around town and short trip vehicle for city drivers. Each of these earth friendly vehicles are are estimated to cost about $10,000.

These golf cart like contraptions were made street legal in Massachusetts as of December 2008. Over half the United States have created laws permitting these low speed vehicles to drive on regular city roads. These laws are created with restrictions of course,  keeping the Evil Kenevil’s out there from driving along highways. Massachusetts law, for example, prohibits these types of vehicles from driving on roads with posted speed limits above 30 mph.

Extensive accessories from a custom dashboard to a radio and additional mirrors are available for the environmentally friendly vehicle. Qualifying Villager drivers will receive a tax credit based upon the vehicle invoice price, an estimated $880 to $1,300 credit. Although the weather may still be a little chilly for driving around town, expect to see more on the road as we near the summer season.

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