Nationwide, fatal car crashes involving teen drivers jumped 10% in 2015 according to a Governor's Highway Safety Association (GHSA) report "Mission Not Accomplished: Teen Safe Driving, the Next Chapter."
This sizeable and tragic increase reverses a trend that began in 2006 when fatal crashes of teen drivers aged 15 to 20 decreased each year through 2014. The study finds that teens are 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than adults.
The Biggest Reason for Teen Driver Risk
Teen driver inexperience is the predominant reason that teens are especially at risk on the road.
When inexperience combines with risky behavior, the chance of an auto accident with serious injuries and fatalities grows. These behaviors include:
- Driving while distracted
- Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Not wearing a seat belt
- Drowsy driving
Distracted driving is an increasingly troublesome problem. In Florida, texting while driving is illegal for all drivers; however, other cellphone use is permitted. The Florida Highway Patrol's Cell Phone Tips has valuable cellphone safety information for both new and veteran drivers.
Florida's Graduated Drivers Licensing Laws Save Lives
License restrictions for new drivers - called graduated driver licensing - helps protect young drivers. Florida's Graduated Drivers Licensing Law lets young drivers ease into full privileges:
Learner's License. Teens must be at least 15 to apply for a learner's license. During the first 3 months, your teen can drive during daylight hours only, and until 10 pm after that. The learner must always have a licensed driver at least 21 years old in the front passenger seat.
Intermediate License. This license is granted to teens ages 16 and 17 who have had a learner's license for at least 12 months with no convictions. The teen may drive alone based on age (age 16: 6am - 11pm, age 17: 5am - 1am). At other hours, the teen must have a licensed driver at least age 21 in the front passenger seat. An exception is if the teen is traveling to or from work.
Full Privilege License. At age 18, all restrictions are removed from the teen's license.
The GHSA report claims that graduated licensing laws such as those in our state can reduce teen crash risk by as much as 30%. However, the report also identifies a flaw in many graduated licensing programs where a teen driver gets a license after age 18 and therefore is not subject to intermediate restrictions. The report recommends that graduated licensing be expanded to include all drivers under age 21.
We Have Extensive Experience with Car Accident Cases
If you or a family member has been injured in an auto accident or has experienced another type of personal injury, you may be able to get compensation for your injuries. Please call us for a free consultation. Attorney Tony Francis, personal injury attorney at The Francis Law Group in Orlando, will fight to get you the compensation that you and your family deserve. You can reach us at 407-363-9939 or contact us via the website.