It’s somewhat of a Catch-22: teenagers, when they reach driving age, are typically provided with a vehicle from a third party that’s used, or else they receive an older vehicle as a hand-me-down from another family member. The problem is that teens are those that could potentially benefit the most from the safety features that are only available on newer automobiles.
A poll from PEMCO Insurance highlights this idea in greater depth. Their survey found that two in three drivers from Portland and Washington got their vehicles from a parent. For persons currently between the ages of 35 and 54, only 4% of drivers had front in their first vehicle. And around one in three respondents below 54 said that their first vehicles was over a decade old when they received it.
If those trends still hold true today, that means that it wouldn’t be uncommon to see a teenager in 2013 becoming the recipient of a vehicle from 2003. If that’s the case, there’s a good chance that the the vehicle lacks electronic stability control and airbags meant to protect drivers in the event of a side collision.
Teens are also shown to typically be given cars that are smaller and thus also potentially less safe given their size. The report at the above link points to a Highway Loss Data Institute study that found almost 30% of teenagers driving the types of cars (two and four door small vehicles) that make up the largest number of insurance claims.