Teen Driving Concerns Increase After Deadly Accidents
On January 17, 2017 a car carrying four teenagers crashed into a utility pole in Gibsonton, Florida. The vehicle was driving approximately 130 miles per hour at the time of the accident and two of the teenagers who were not wearing a seatbelt were ejected from the vehicle. Investigators found alcohol and illegal narcotics in the vehicle after the crash. A few days later on January 21, 2017 a 19-year-old was killed after the car he was a passenger in crashed into a police car. While alcohol was not believed to be involved, the 18-year-old driver ran a red light leading to the accident. Both crashes have increased concerns regarding teenage drivers in Florida.
Florida has recently come under fire for having notoriously unsafe drivers. The large number of car accidents is partially attributed to the tourist industry that places additional drivers on the roadways throughout the year, but distracted driving in Florida has become an epidemic. The number of accidents that involve drivers texting, playing games, or checking email on mobile devices has led to the creation of a statewide Distracted Driving Awareness Month that is designed to draw attention to the dangers Florida drivers face. Unfortunately, teenage drivers that are at a higher risk of being involved in accidents are often considered dangerous because of their habit of driving while distracted.
Teenage Driver Statistics
Teenagers between the ages of 16 and 20 are at the greatest risk of being killed in a motor vehicle accident. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has listed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death of teenagers. Research has shown that teenagers who are in a vehicle with other teens present are at a greater risk of getting into an accident due in part to the increased distraction. Though alcohol and other illegal substances are responsible for some teenage driver accidents, approximately 75 percent of all motor vehicle accidents involving teenagers are caused by a critical error that includes being distracted by something inside or outside of the vehicle.
Florida Laws for Teenage Drivers
Research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has shown that accidents involving teenagers decline sharply as the teen gains driving experience. Spending more time behind the wheel in the company of an established driver helps a young driver gain potentially lifesaving experience. Florida has adopted Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws that are designed to help young drivers gain experience in a low stress, low risk, environment. These laws require teen drivers to have a learner’s license for at least 12 months, spend 50 hours driving, pass a skills test, and have no moving violations for one year. Florida is also considering introducing stricter laws that punish teens for driving while texting or using a cell phone in any capacity other than as a GPS.
When to Contact an Attorney
No matter how much experience a driver has, accidents still happen. If you or a loved one has been in a motor vehicle accident involving a teen driver, the Mander Law Group can help. Our attorneys have previously helped settle personal injury cases in Florida and can provide you with the assistance you need.