Our Port St. Lucie injury attorneys encourage parents to make 2011 the year they emphasize the importance of safe teen driving, whether or not their teenager is old enough to drive.
Florida is one of 13 states that require young teens to pass three stages before getting their drivers license. The Graduated Driver’s License Program trains teens gradually to react to certain driving situations and allows them to mature over time in order to be safer drivers.
Since its inception, there has been a reduction in fatalities and the number of teen car accidents in Fort Lauderdale and elsewhere in South Florida. At age 15, teens get a learner’s license and upon meeting certain requirements move to the next stage of operational license. The last stage is the full license in which at age 18 a teen can apply for as long as they have met all the previous requirements in the first two stages.
The advantage of the GDLP is that teens learn and mature at the same time. Florida, ranked among the top in vehicle crash fatalities for all age groups according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2008, the NHTSA reported that Florida was ranked either 2nd or 3rd among all states in fatalities when a young driver was involved. Specific to the following: when someone between the ages of 15-20 was either driving, an occupant with another young driver, or a passenger of the other vehicle involved in the crash. Florida reported a total of 516 fatalities in crashes involving young drivers in 2008. These accidents accounted for 8% of fatalities in this age group in the United States.
According to a recent article in Yahoo News Safe Kids USA wants to do more to increase the safety of young teens before they approach the legal driving age in their state. Along with the help of General Motors Foundation, Safe Kids USA is introducing a new program called Countdown2Drive that will focus on educating young teens at the age of 13-14, as well as their parents, about the importance of safe driving and passenger habits.
Last year, over 350,000 teens were injured in passenger vehicle accidents. It is believed that if teens learn to become safe passengers, then that will carry through to when it is time to show safe driving skills.
The first year of driving is often the most critical for teens. The freedom of being able to do your own thing brings a great deal of excitement. But with programs like Countdown2Drive maybe the knowledge and maturity gained beforehand will begin to play a role in reducing the number of young driver fatalities that occur each year in Florida.
The Law Offices of Dean H. Freeman are experienced in handling young driver car accidents in South Florida. Call for a free appointment at 1-800-529-2368.