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If your teenager has just gotten a driver's license, you have probably heard the words Miata, Mustang and Camaro more than you care to admit.

The first years a teen spends driving are the most risky. Teen drivers have the highest death rate of any age group. While getting a driver's license is an important milestone in a teen's life, it can provide untold frustration and worry for parents. The Insurance Institute for HIghway Safety and the Insurance Information Institute both advise that concerned parents can go a long way in protecting their teen driver by choosing a safe vehicle.

Avoid vehicles that encourage reckless driving. Teen drivers not only lack the experience, but may also lack maturity. Sporty or flashy cars encourage speeding and reckless behavior.

Choose a stable vehicle. Sport utility vehicles, especially the smaller ones, are inherently less stable than cars because of their higher center of gravity.

Pick a vehicle with good crash protection. Teenagers should drive vehicles offering state of the art protection. Crash statistics can be found at several Web sites, such as http://nhtsa.dot.gov.

Don't choose a small vehicle. While economical, small vehicles offer much less protection in crashes than larger ones.
Posted 1:06 PM

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