To some teens, car keys are seen as a ticket to freedom — a chance for a fast-paced adventure, with their friends along for the ride.
But that kind of attitude, fueled by a lack of parental involvement, can lead to serious and potentially fatal car accidents in Delray Beach and beyond.
New studies have been released indicating parents must convey to their newly-licensed teens the risk they are taking every time they get behind that wheel. If they don’t, as our Delray Beach car accident attorneys have seen firsthand, the consequences can be devastating.
Every parent dreads that late night phone call, telling them their child has been seriously injured or killed in a crash.
If your teen is riding with one or more friends, they are at increased risk, according to researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
The first study involved a survey of nearly 200 teens aged 15 to 17 in two separate states that had graduated driver’s license laws (or GDL’s). These are laws that set guidelines for young drivers, such as how late they can be on the road and how many people they can have in the car with them. The idea is they will gradually build up technical skills and the ability to overcome distraction. What researchers discovered was that when parents had talked to their teens about how risky driving can be, teens were less likely to become careless with their driving habits. They were more likely to recognize the hazards and less likely to use the car as a means to seek a thrill.
Teens were also more apt to drive cautiously when their parents knew where they were and who they were with. It was also not as common for those same teens to have a host of other teens riding with them – something that has been proven to increase their chances of a deadly crash in Delray Beach and elsewhere.
The second study from the research center addressed this very issue. The social scientists looked at a sample of nearly 680 teen drivers who had been in a serious wreck. Investigators on the crash scenes found that both male and female teens were more likely to have been distracted when a friend was in the car with them.
It played out a little differently though, depending on the driver’s gender. For males, it meant a greater likelihood that they would drive aggressively or pull an illegal stunt – in other words, general recklessness. For females, it meant they were turning to look at friends, texting, putting on make-up, changing the radio or eating.
Researchers say the outcome of these studies prove that GDL’s are the way to go.
Florida has graduated driver’s license laws that specify the following:
-A teen has to be at least 15 to apply for a learner’s license. They also need to have a traffic law and substance abuse class under their belt, as well as pass written, visual and hearing tests and have one of their parents sign a consent form.
-For the first three months with a learner’s license, a teen can only drive during the day until 10 p.m. If they’re out later than that, they MUST have a front seat passenger over the age of 21 who has a valid license.
-Teenagers who are at least 16 are eligible for an intermediate license. For this, they have to have had their learner’s license for a whole year without any convictions for traffic offenses. During this time, they are allowed on the road on their own between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. Outside those hours, they have to be either coming to or from work or with a licensed driver over the age of 21.
-Seventeen-year-olds are allowed on the roads between the hours of 5 a.m. and 1 a.m. Any time outside of that, they have to be either coming to or from work or with a licensed driver over the age of 21 in the front passenger seat.
-At age 18, teens are allowed full driving privileges.
If you or a your teen has been injured in a traffic crash involving a teen driver in Delray Beach, Royal Palm Beach, Pompano Beach or in any of the surrounding areas, contact our personal injury lawyers of Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-529-2368.
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