Massachusetts State Police collaborated with the Northwester District Attorney’s Office and several local police departments this past May to host a training exercise at the Hampshire Regional High School in Westhampton. Using physics and mechanics officers taught teenagers about driving accidents and the consequences of driver’s actions.
Officers used a new teaching aid called the “Crash – The Science of Collisions” using what the teenagers have and will be learning in their physics classes. While teaching teenage drivers about the physics behind a crash, officers taught students about the cause and effect of driver’s actions. Troopers from the State Police Collision Analysis Reconstruction Section replicated characteristics of an accident in the Hampshire Regional High parking lot. From the staged crash statistics were given for students to analyze and evaluate.
The motivation behind this exercise was to raise awareness levels to decrease the number of future crashed by teen drivers. The hope is with this training & realization of the physics and mechanics behind a crash, students will be more safe and aware drivers.
According to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety & Security other participants included: Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel and Assistant District Attorney Curtis Frick; Westhampton Police Chief David White and Sergeant Floyd Fisher; Williamsburg Police Acting Chief Denise Wickland; Goshen Police Chief Jeffrey Hewes; Chesterfield Police Corporal Aimee Wallace; and Southampton Police Officer Scott Gove.
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.