LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A driver's license and a first car are rites of passage for many teens, but when making that purchase, the cheapest vehicle isn't always the safest.
From their own safety tests, plus crash test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety compiled a list of used cars ranging from $4,000 to $20,000 with key features for teen drivers.
"They should start with a midsize or larger vehicle," Anne McCartt from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said. "Make sure it has electronic stability control. This is a life-saving technology that helps drivers keep control of a vehicle when they're coming around a curve or they're on a slippery road . . . just the kinds of situations that teens have difficulty with.”
Some vehicles on their list start at under $10,000, including a large car like the Volvo S80, a midsize car like the Volkswagen Jetta.
A small SUV like the Honda Element and a midsize SUV like the Volvo XC90. Their full list of recommendations can be found at iihs.org.
Even the safest of vehicles isn't a substitute for reinforcing rules of the road. Dr. Raymond Scalletar, who is also a medical adviser to the Distilled Spirits Council, urges parents to talk bluntly about the dangers of underage drinking. “There can be impairment and there can be impairment of some of the brain cells and that can affect judgment," he said. "If they're young, early drivers and can be seriously impaired and not realize it."
They also recommend parents keep tabs on alcohol in the home and make sure there's adult supervision at summer gatherings of young drivers.
If you have a consumer issue you’d like us to look into send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.