September Safety Month – How can I keep my teen driver safe?

1Oct
School is back in session, which means more teens on the roads driving automobiles to get to school, sporting events, after-school jobs, study groups, and social activities. Many of these teens will drive their cars for the first time, just in time for the influx of seasonal residents and increased congestion on Florida’s roads.   […]

School is back in session, which means more teens on the roads driving automobiles to get to school, sporting events, after-school jobs, study groups, and social activities. Many of these teens will drive their cars for the first time, just in time for the influx of seasonal residents and increased congestion on Florida’s roads.

 

These factors and others make September a crucial month for Florida parents to ensure their teens adopt safe driving habits.

Florida Teen Driving Statistics

The Florida Department of Transportation launched a public information campaign to raise awareness of the increasing safety risks regarding teen drivers. It’s been known for some time that the 100 deadliest days for Florida teens are between Memorial Day and Labor Day. However, new reports suggest the month following Labor Day is also very dangerous.[1]

 

FDOT put forth PSA quotes like the following to raise awareness of the problem:

  • Florida has more than 400,000 registered teen drivers, age 15 to 19.”
  • In Florida, teen drivers were involved in 59,301 crashes resulting in 290 fatalities and 2,256 serious injuries in 2018.”
  • Safety belts were not worn in one-third of the deaths and serious injuries involving these teen drivers.”
  • Contrary to the perception that non-Florida residents are frequently involved in Florida crashes, only 3% of fatalities, serious injuries, and crashes involving a teen driver in Florida occurred with a non-Florida resident.”

While teen drivers comprise only about 2% of all drivers in Florida, they are involved in 14% of accidents. But as the data shows, parents can take steps to keep their teens safe by doing something as simple as making sure their teens always wear their seatbelts.

How Can I Keep My Teen Driver Safe?

The data shows that parents could increase safety outcomes by following a few recommendations. Beyond making sure teens wear their safety belts, additional recommendations include:

  1. Limit Passengers. FDOT research shows that the risk of a crash increases by at least 158% when a Florida teen driver has friends in the car. Parents should encourage their teen children to drive alone or with their parents in the car, but not with friends.
  2. Obey Posted Speed Limits. According to FDOT, speed is a factor in more than 33% of all fatal teen crashes in the state. Even after a teen has their driver’s license, parents should still ride in the car and remind teens to obey all posted speed limits.
  3. Eliminate Distractions. As FDOT states, “It’s just not worth the risk! That text, TikTok, or email can wait. Instead, focus on driving, or pull over to a safe location if you must interact with your phone.” Sure enough, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, distracted driving is responsible for at least 9% of all teen driving fatalities (and that percentage is increasing yearly).[2]
  4. Practice, practice, practice! There’s no replacement for hours spent behind the wheel, so parents should ride with their teens as passengers even after their teens get their driver’s licenses. The more hours teens can log behind the wheel with their parents in the car, the better.
Resources for Teens and Parents
Professional Injury Law Representation can Ensure Justice is Served

One of a parent’s worst nightmares is getting word that their teen was involved in a car accident. If your teen or the son or daughter of one of your close friends or family members is involved in an auto accident, please call Magazine Law Group at 727-499-9900.

 

Sources Cited:

[1] FDOT. “The 100 Deadliest Days for Teen Drivers.” Florida Department of Transportation, 2022. dot.gov

[2] NHTSA. “Recent NCSA Publications.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2022. crashstats.nhtsa.gov