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Teenage distractions can drive up auto insurance premium rates

With so many increasingly distracted by cell phones and MP3 players, teens remain some of the riskiest drivers on the road with the highest auto insurance premiums.

But worried parents can take simple steps in an attempt to keep auto insurance rates down and their loved one safe.

Talking openly and clearly about the rules of the road and warning about the dangers of mixing drugs or alcohol with driving are two important aspects for parents guiding their growing child through the transition from passenger to motorist, experts advise.

Getting a novice driver on the parents' policy can be a good idea too. Even good grades can help. Maintaining a 3.0 GPA is widely believed to generate discounts of up to 10 percent on auto insurance premiums.

And it needn't always be the parents lecturing the youngsters. In upstate New York, one group of teenage students recently took matters into their own hands, producing a 30-second public service announcement telling their peers to act like adults behind the wheel and quit showing off.

"We wanted to show kids that distractions really do add up and make it difficult to drive safely," senior James Domachowske, of Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, said.

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