Florida Teen Car Accidents on the Rise

Florida Teen Car Accidents on the Rise

Florida’s car crash statistics can be shocking. They highlight a few driving problems in the state and continue to show year over year increases in both total accidents and fatalities. Unfortunately, some of our most vulnerable drivers are susceptible to some of the worst driving behavior. But what can we do to help?

Florida Teen drivers were involved in 11.3% of all car accidents in 2014. That means there was at least a one in ten chance that an accident you heard about on the news or from a friend involved a teenager.

Understanding Florida’s Graduated Driver Licensing

In order to protect citizens and help new drivers, Florida has several restrictions for young drivers, from road tests and limited driving hours to required time behind the wheel. Adhering to these requirements and working in tandem with their instructors and parents to ready themselves to drive alone can help prepare teenagers to become responsible Florida drivers.

While teen’s hoping to get their learner’s license are still required to pass the dreaded knowledge test and show how much of the Florida Driver Handbook they remember, they must also complete a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education course.

Once they have their learner’s license, teens are required to drive with a passenger who is at least 21 sitting shotgun. For the first three months after getting their learner’s license, teens are only allowed to drive during daylight hours. Afterward, they may drive until 10pm.

For teenagers who have held their learner’s license for a year and who have remained in good standing, the next step is an intermediate license. This license features age-specific restrictions. To attain the intermediate license, a young driver must pass their driver’s test and have driven at least 50 hours with a parent or guardian (10 of which must be at night). Of course, driving more is preferred.

With a learner’s license, a 16-year-old driver may only drive between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. A 17-year-old driver may drive between 5 a.m. and 1 a.m. Restrictions do allow for driving outside of those hours if the teen is commuting to or from work or with an adult over 21 in the passenger seat.

How Can You Help a Teen Driver?

  • Lead by example: no distracted driving. Set down your phone—forget about checking texts or emails and focus on driving. Keep your eyes on the road and point out any poor behaviors you see on the road and how they could’ve been handled better. Teach them about defensive driving by showing them how it’s done.
  • Set limits and hold them accountable. While the state has specific driving requirements for teenagers, you know your kids best. Set limits on when they can drive, who they can drive with, how far they can drive, etc. Enact consequences for failure to follow the rules. Driving is a privilege and teens should come to understand that it comes with responsibilities.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Driving, and especially defensive driving, is a skill. To hone it, teens need practice. Let them drive you around to give them extra practice. They may complain at first, but allowing them to take the wheel when you’re together will show you trust their driving and allow them to become better drivers. Even after they have their license, it’s important to see how they are driving and to give them more opportunities to chauffer you.

Injured? Speak With a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer

Were you or your child injured in a car accident? If you are a loved one were harmed in an accident because of someone else’s negligence, it’s important to seek legal advice. A Tampa personal injury lawyer can help you decide whether you need to take legal action.

Property damage and physical injuries caused by a car accident can take a serious toll on a family. A Tampa personal injury lawyer who understands car accident law can help you investigate the crash and determine what your next steps should be.

A car accident can change your life forever. Let a skilled Tampa personal injury lawyer help you start putting the pieces back together.