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Passengers: Increasing Your Teen’s Risks for an Accident

According to The Examiner, your teenager faces serious increases in their risks for an accident when they’re driving with young passengers.

The new study was released by officials with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. It was released to coincide with Teen Driver Safety Week. In the study, there were close to 10,000 young drivers (16- and 17-years-old) who were involved in fatal accidents from 2005 to 2010. In these accidents, there were about 4,000 who had a young passenger present in the vehicle.
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“This much is certain: mixing teen drivers with teen passengers is simply toxic,” said AAA’s John Townsend.

Our Port St. Lucie car accident attorneys understand that many states have a Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) program that regulates the number of young passengers that newly-licensed teens can have in their vehicles. Florida is not one of those states.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), newly-licensed drivers only have to follow nighttime driving restrictions. Law enforcement officers can do nothing if your teen’s vehicle is packed full of young riders. That means that young drivers in the state can be open to the distractions presented by passengers at any and all times and there’s nothing anyone can do about it — Except parents.

Parents are asked to create a parent-teen driving contract to create and enforce household driving rules to make up for where our state’s GDL program lacks.

In your parent-teen driving contract you should set your own rules regarding the number of passengers permitted in your teen’s vehicle, the time of the day they’re allowed to drive, the areas that they’re allowed to drive, an agreement for communication while your teen is out of the house and a strict curfew. Drivers who follow household driving laws are more likely to follow state and federal driving laws and are therefore are less likely to get into an accident. Make sure you lay down the consequences for breaking these rules, too!

What newly-licensed teen drivers need to be concentrating on are the rules of the road, and not on the distractions that are presented by passengers.

Statistics conclude that, in the close to 1,200 studied fatal accidents, teens were speeding 20 percent of the time. When three or more young passengers were present, that number shot up to close to 50 percent of the time.

The study also concluded that teens were more likely to drive at night and to drive under the influence of alcohol when teen passengers were present. Just because your teen isn’t old enough to drink, it doesn’t mean that they won’t.

The truth of the matter is that teenage drivers are involved in more accidents per mile than any other age group of drivers. It’s important that we work to bring these risks down by enforcing our own household driving rules. Limit when they can drive and who they can drive with.

If you’ve been injured, contact Freeman & Mallard for a free and confidential review of your case. Call 1-800-561-7777.

More Blog Entries:

Distracted Driving: An Epidemic with No End in Sight for Florida, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, September 9, 2012

Keeping Teens Safe in Stuart Car Accidents through Vehicle Selection, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, May 21, 2012

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