And so begins the so-called “100 Deadliest Days of Summer.” According to AAA, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, an average of seven people per day are killed in crashes involving teen drivers nationwide. In Florida, AAA reports an average of 158 people are killed in teen driver-related crashes every year. Roughly a quarter of those happen between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Teen drivers are celebrating graduations, out of school in the summertime, potentially driving more, and have more free time, all of which could lead to making bad choices behind the wheel.
If you or a loved one has been injured, seriously injured, or even killed in a car, truck, bicycle, or motorcycle accident at an intersection, immediately contact an experienced Florida car accident attorney at Searcy Denney for your free consultation. We’ll help you through this difficult time and handle your insurance and legal claims.
Teen Driving Statistics
According to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT):
- Nationally, teen drivers were involved in approximately 955,913 crashes resulting in 4,000 fatalities and 359,268 serious injuries in 2018.
- Florida has more than 400,000 registered teen drivers, ages 15 to 19.
- In Florida, teen drivers were involved in 59,301 crashes resulting in 290 fatalities and 2,256 serious injuries in 2018.
- Teens were two-and-a-half times more likely to engage in potentially risky behavior when driving with a teenage peer versus driving alone.
- The likelihood increased to three times when traveling with multiple passengers.
- Safety belts were not worn in one-third of the deaths and serious injuries involving these teen drivers.
- More crashes involving teen drivers occurred on Friday than on any other day of the week.
- 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.
What Are the Leading Causes of Teen Crashes and Injuries?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading causes of teen crashes and injuries include:
- Driver inexperience
- Driving with teen passengers
- Nighttime driving
- Not using seat belts
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Reckless driving
- Impaired driving
What Can You Do?
The FDOT recommends:
- Talk to your teen about the rules and responsibilities involved in driving. Share some stories and statistics related to teen drivers and distracted driving. Remind your teen often that driving is a skill that requires the driver’s full attention. Texts and phone calls can wait until arriving at his or her destination.
- Familiarize yourself with Florida’s graduated driver licensing law, and enforce its guidelines for your teen. View Florida’s laws on distracted driving, create your own rules if necessary. Restricting the number of passengers your teen can have, or the hours your teen can drive, is a very effective way to minimize distraction for your teen driver. Talk about the consequences of distracted driving and make yourself and your teen aware of your state’s penalties for talking or texting on a phone while driving.
- Set consequences for distracted driving. If your teen breaks a distraction rule you’ve set, consider suspending your teen’s driving privileges, further limiting the hours during which they can drive, or limiting the places where they can drive. Parents could also consider limiting a teen’s access to their cell phone; a punishment that in today’s world could be seen by teens as a serious consequence.
- Set the example by keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel while driving. Be consistent between the message you tell your teen and your own driving behaviors. Novice teen drivers most often learn from watching their parents.
Furthermore, according to the CDC, some proven methods for protecting teen drivers include:
At least 48% of teen drivers and passengers aged 16–19 years who died in passenger vehicle crashes in 2019 were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Research indicates that seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half. Enforce seat belt use.
Not Driving Impaired
Maintaining and enforcing minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) laws and zero-tolerance laws for drivers under age 21 is recommended to help prevent drinking and driving among young drivers. Enforce impaired driving rules.
Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Systems
Driving is a complex skill, one that must be practiced to be learned well. Teenagers’ lack of driving experience, together with risk-taking behavior, heightens their risk for crashes. The need for skill-building and driving supervision for new drivers is the basis for graduated driver licensing (GDL) systems. Although varied, GDL systems exist in all U.S. states and Washington, D.C. GDL systems provide longer practice periods, limit driving under high-risk conditions for newly licensed drivers, and require greater participation from parents as their teens learn to drive. Research indicates that GDL systems are associated with reductions of about 19% for injury crashes and about 21% for fatal crashes for 16-year-olds. Parents can help their teens be safer by knowing and following their state’s GDL laws.
Let a Florida Car Accident Attorney Help You With Your Slip, Trip, and Fall
Slip, trip, and fall injuries are the most common type of injury you can suffer while on someone else’s property; i.e. premise liability. A Florida car accident attorney at Searcy Denney has experience with these types of injuries and knows the laws in Florida. Contact us to schedule your free consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis.