Why do nearly 25% of teens steer clear of getting behind the wheel?

Many of us remember how exciting it was first learning to drive, barely seeing over the steering wheel sitting on dad’s lap, then later sitting pimply-faced in the driver seat on a remote road with him instructing patiently from the passenger side.

All we wanted was to get street legal and hit the road with buddies. Most teens today still feel this way – but now they also feel something else. Fear.

According to a lengthy survey, almost one in four non-driving teens say they’re not licensed because they’re scared to drive a car. What’s more, parents could be influencing this sentiment. Let’s check out some of the findings.


  • More teen girls than boys thought driving was scary and were more likely to delay driving as a result.
  • More unlicensed teen girls than boys are too scared to learn to drive.
  • Teens living in busy urban areas are the most scared of driving, as compared to those in suburban or rural areas.


  • Most parents said the idea of their teen driving frightens them.
  • Only 12.5% of parents said their non-driving teens don’t drive because of fear. Yet, when teens answered, that number almost doubled to 23%. This suggests parents may not know how frightened their teen is of driving – and how much their own worries influence their teen’s driving concerns.
  • Moms worry more than dads about their teen drivers.
  • Parents worry more about their teen girl driving than their boy. Yet it is teen boys who are twice as likely to be in a fatal crash.
  • Parents living in rural areas are more fearful (yet rural teens were conversely the least afraid of driving).

At the end of the road, scared or not, teens are the most dangerous drivers.

Research show that youthful lack of judgment is what makes teens the riskiest category of drivers. 

  • Teen drivers (age 16-19) are nearly three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than drivers aged 20 or older.
  • Most teen-involved car crashes are caused by making an error. Of those, 60% is failing to adequately observe their surroundings, being distracted, or driving too fast.
  • Novice teen drivers have higher crash rates than novice adult drivers.

How can you as a parent, help your teen stay safe while embarking on this seemingly daunting life’s journey?

Talk to your teen because they tend to underestimate the impact of costs compared to adults. Ask about their driving ambitions and concerns so you can make a driving education plan that helps both of you feel comfortable and make them well aware of the rules of the road, as well as the dire consequences of breaking them.

Insurance for teen drivers

The cost of auto insurance varies from one group of drivers to another because some groups have worse driving records, higher accident rates and more costly accidents than others. The highest insurance rates are paid by any male driver under the age of 25. Statistically, male teen drivers are more likely to be involved in auto accidents, get traffic tickets, commit traffic violations and DUI’s than older drivers. Car insurance companies take this into consideration when determining how high a risk it is to insure teen drivers.

Tips on getting affordable insurance for your teen

  • Choose a modest, solid vehicle with good safety features for them, rather than a flashy faster one with nearly none.
  • Consider putting them on your insurance policy because technically, they don’t need their own as a teen. Even though this will increase the rates a bit, it will probably be cheaper than paying for two policies. However, it’s good to compare prices for both.
  • Opt for higher deductibles as this often lowers monthly premiums. Just be sure to choose deductibles you can afford because, unfortunately, sometimes accidents happen.
  • Encourage them to complete an advanced driver’s training course, as auto insurers love seeing young drivers go the diligent extra mile for safety and responsible know-how.
  • Make sure they keep their driving record clean as this plays a huge role in determining – and keeping – lower car insurance rates for teens and adults alike.

If needs be, speak to your broker for an in-depth analysis of your teen’s insurance needs and an appropriate policy. Good luck, safe travels and god-speed from all at RBS!