A new law should save consumers time and money - and make Tennessee streets safer.
The bill, signed into law March 2, would allow Tennesseans over 55 years old to get discounts on auto insurance premiums after completing an online driver safety course approved by the state Safety Commissioner. AARP offers such courses online and in a classroom setting.
"This will give busy baby boomers and folks who live in rural parts of the state a convenient way to refresh their skills," said AARP Tennessee Director Rebecca Kelly. "Tennessee drivers should thank Rep. Phillip Johnson, Sen. Mike Faulk, state officials and Barry Breen for their work on this bill."
Johnson, R-Pegram, noted on the House floor that he sponsored the bill at the request of Breen, a constituent and coordinator of Tennessee’s AARP Driver Safety Program who has worked tirelessly to improve the safety of Tennessee roads while helping older drivers keep their car keys until it is time to hang them up.
The bill was approved unanimously by legislators in both the House and Senate.
Tennessee joins 10 other states that offer insurance premium discounts for online driver safety courses. The state already was one of 36 requiring insurers to offer a discount for classroom courses such as those taught by AARP-trained volunteers. Each year, some 5,000 to 6,000 Tennessee drivers take the courses.
The discounts are determined by the insurance company, but Breen says they average about 10 percent of the annual policy cost. The classroom course costs $14 for AARP members and the online course is $20. You must take the course every three years to keep receiving a discounted premium.
So someone who pays $800 per year on one vehicle would save an estimated $80 each year – for a total of $240 over three years’ time.
Even without a discount, driver safety courses are a bargain.
"People who take our courses say they are much safer drivers because they've changed their behavior, and they also believe that the classes will help them decide when it is time to stop driving," Breen said.
- Read Associated Press stories about the legislation: Bill to give senior Tenn. drivers insurance break
- A story by WATE-TV in Knoxville quotes AARP volunteer leader Bill Schall: Bill expands driving safety courses for seniors to online option
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