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Seniors and teens at high risk of car accidents from Fort Pierce to Fort Lauderdale

On average, there were 646 Florida car accidents a day on state highways and byways in 2009. That adds up to 235,779 Florida car accidents that killed 2,563 and injured 197,214, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports.

Almost 40 percent of 2009 Florida fatal car accidents were linked to alcohol. Another determining risk factor was age — with seniors and teens most at risk. Our car accident lawyers in Fort Pierce and Fort Lauderdale understand these risks and encourage families to speak with drivers, young and old, about the importance of making good driving decisions.

As expected, our youngest least experienced drivers – aged 15 to 19 – are the most likely to be involved in a Florida car accident. With that said, it is drivers in the 20 to 24 age range who had the highest number of fatal Florida crashes. In 2009, 80 teen drivers and 73 teen passengers were killed in fatal crashes. Another 19,000 were left injured.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that car accidents remain the leading cause of death among American teenagers; claiming more than 5,000 teen lives annually. The NHTSA estimates that every 24 to 48 hours a teenager is killed in a fatal car accident.

Partly to blame is the driver inexperience and the impulsiveness that accompanies youth. To address this issue, the NHTSA recommends that states adopt a Graduate Driver Licensing program so our more inexperienced drivers can ease into the responsibility of driving on Florida roads.

Teens are also far less likely to buckle up, which increases their chances of being seriously or fatally injured in the event of an accident. They are also more likely to mix alcohol and driving with deadly consequences. On average, alcohol is responsible for the death of one in three drivers aged 20 and younger each year.

At the other end of the highway, so to speak, Florida has a significant senior driver population, as does the nation. In 2008, there were 34 million Americans aged 65 and older; most all of them licensed drivers. The NHTSA reports that older drivers are less likely to drink and drive than other age groups. They are also most likely to wear a seat belt.

With that said, what older drivers make up for in experience, they lose to diminished vision and hearing ability and slower response/reaction times. Knowing when and how to talk about implementing a restricted driving plan with an elder loved one can be a challenge that should be handled with empathy and respect. One that NHTSA urges families and friends to plan for and implement to life-saving effect.

The NHTSA provides the following data regarding 2008 totals for fatal car accidents by age group. Florida ranks first in the nation for the number of drivers aged 70 and older involved in fatal crashes. Texas ranks second, and California, third. Out of 37,261 fatal car accidents nationwide in 2008, the NHTSA offers the following statistics:

~ Drivers aged 16 to 20: Texas leads with 571 drivers linked to fatal crashes, followed by California with 516 and Florida with 430.

~ Drivers aged 55 to 69: California leads with 646 drivers linked to fatal crashes, followed by Texas with 606 and Florida with 569.

~ Drivers aged 70 to 74: Florida leads with 113 drivers linked to fatal crashes, followed by Texas with 99 and California with 84.

~ Drivers aged 75 to 79: Florida leads with 101 drivers linked to fatal crashes, followed by California with 84 and Texas with 69.

~ Drivers aged 80 to 84: Florida leads with 69 drivers linked to fatal crashes, followed by California with 63 and Texas with 58.

~ Drivers aged 85 and older: Florida leads with 62 drivers linked to fatal crashes, followed by California with 59 and Texas with 33.

The Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys at Freeman & Mallard have been successfully and aggressively representing accident victims and their families in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Ft. Pierce /Port St. Lucie for years. Call us today to schedule a no-obligation appointment to discuss your case at 1-800-529-2368.

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