NEW YORK (MainStreet) About 17% of drivers up to age 35 drive a Toyota and another 13% claim their first car was a Honda while only 10% opted for a Chevrolet, according to a new study.
"About a third of those who recalled the make of their first car drove a Chevy with both Impalas and Bel Airs taking the top spot," said PEMCO Insurance spokesperson Jon Osterberg.
Getting behind the wheel of a car for the first time is a memorable event. Yet inexperience brings higher risk so teen drivers need all the safety advantages they can get.
"The strong reputations of Honda and Toyota is one of the primary reasons they are favored as first cars," said Michael Barry, spokesperson with the Insurance Information Institute.
A PEMCO report found that one-third of respondents under age 55 drove a car that was more than 10 years old when they first became drivers.
"Older cars are often more affordable for parents and teens, but our poll confirms the trend we suspect that parents opt for older and sometimes smaller cars for their teens when a newer car would be a safer option," Osterberg said.
While front-seat lap and shoulder belts became a federal standard in 1968, backseat lap and shoulder seatbelts weren't standard in vehicles until 1990.
"There are many resources for teens and parents to help select a first car that's safe, reliable and affordable," Osterberg said. "Websites that compare crash-test results and safety ratings across makes and models are often a great place to start."
For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains crash test results and 5-star Safety Ratings on its website. According to PEMCO's poll, 36% of drivers 55 and older said their first car had lap seatbelts without shoulder harnesses and only 3% said their first car offered shoulder harnesses in addition to lap belts.