We are now celebrating this Safe Teen Driving Week.
Every day, there are nearly 20 accidents involving drivers between the ages of 15 and 20. It is estimated that two out of every three people killed in an accident involving a teen driver is someone other than the teen driver. This includes the passengers in the teen’s vehicle, occupants of other vehicles, motorcyclist and pedestrians. Still, car accidents are the leading cause of death for this age group.
Our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys understand that teen drivers face more risks on our roadways than older, more experienced drivers. Our teens face an even greater danger during the summer months. With school out and summer vacation plans in effect, teens will be hitting our roadways in full force. Typically, we see more deaths of teens in motor-vehicle accidents during during these upcoming months.
In 2008, there were more than 208 million licensed drivers in the United States. Drivers ages 16 to 19 made up nearly 6.5 percent — 13.3 million — of the total. The number of teen drivers increased more than 5 percent from 1999.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 2,500 teen drivers were killed in motor-vehicle accidents in the United States. Another 196,000 of these drivers were injured in accidents.
In 2009, more than 30 percent of young drivers killed in motor-vehicle accidents reportedly had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.
Throughout 2009, almost 400 people in Florida died as a result of motor-vehicle accidents involving a teen driver.
In an effort to help better prepare our teens for the roadway, the NSC is promoting Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) systems. This system breaks down the learning process for a teen driver into three steps. First is a learner’s permit. This allows a teen to drive only when they’re supervised by a fully licensed driver. The second level is an intermediate, or provisional, license. This license would allow unsupervised driving under specific restrictions, including nighttime, and a limit on the number of passengers. The third and final step is a full license.
Parents are also encouraged to get their teen enrolled in a driver education program. These courses play a vital role in preparing a teen for the dangers of the roadway. However, it should not be seen as the end of the learning process. In an attempt to develop safe driving skills in our young drivers, we should provide them with opportunities to improve through gradual exposure to increasingly challenging driving tasks. We hope that our teens will become safer drivers as they gain more and more driving experience.
Some states require that teens complete a driver education before they receive full driving privileges. Many safety advocates disagree with this approach. Research concludes that a significant number of hours of driving experience is the best way to reduce crash risks. Advocated believe that parent involvement and GDL play critical roles in developing skills.
Parents play a large role in the safety of their teen on our roadways. Be sure to speak with your young driver about the dangers of irresponsible driving and the possible consequences that could result. Everyone is urged to join Teen Safe Driving Week to help keep our teens safe on the road.
An instructional guide, Teen Driver: A Family Guide to Teen Driver Safety, helps parents manage their teen’s journey from beginner to fully licensed driver. The guide also provides a written parent/teen driving agreement to help define driving restrictions, rules and consequences.
Continue reading →