My son recently received his Learner’s Permit to drive- and was bittersweet for a number of reasons- as a father seeing his son taking the next major step towards adulthood and independence- knowing that soon he won’t need me to drive him to the park, or pick him up from the bus stop after school. As a Miami personal injury lawyer- who has represented both teen drivers and their families who have been seriously hurt by others and the families of those who have been hurt and even killed by teen drivers- I worry.
One reason is the statistics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for teens in our country. In fact, in 2015, over 2000 16–19-year-old teens were killed and another 221,313 were treated in emergency rooms for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes. This means that every day in our country six teenagers between the ages 16–19 die every day from car crashes.
Since 1991 our Miami personal injury car accident lawyers have investigated thousands of motor vehicle crashes across the country and I believe that the great majority of them are preventable- especially those involving teen drivers.
Number One: Seat Belts
More than half of the teens (aged 16-19) who died in car crashes were not wearing seatbelts. It is hard to believe that in today’s age people would still knowingly get behind the wheel of a car without first buckling up. But some teens have a sense of immortality- I guess we all did at that age- and may be so excited or distracted to simply be driving that they forget the number one safety rule- “always wear a seatbelt” even though safety studies show proof that seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by half. Others may have simply learned the dangerous habit from watching their parents or movie stars jump into cars and not buckle up. Insist on your teen always driving with a seatbelt on- and hopefully one day someone will develop an app that will alert parents if their teens are driving without using a seatbelt.
Of the teens (aged 16-19) who died in passenger vehicle crashes in 2014 approximately 53% were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.2 4
Number Two: Not Drinking & Driving
I think there should be zero blood alcohol tolerance for drinking and driving or (smoking pot for that matter) and driving- especially for teens. If as a parent you think that there is even a chance that your teen might drink and drive- keep the keys and give them money for a cab or Uber. This is especially risky when our teens start attending high school parties. Our Florida car accident law firm has a special promo code you can use if you have never tried Uber-but we strongly recommend you use it for your teen when they are going “out with friends” who might be otherwise tempted to drink or smoke.
Number Three: Learning How to Drive
Most states, including Florida, have Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Programs designed to give teen drivers the experience and skill set necessary to safely drive. It starts with a learner’s license, which teens at least 15 years old can apply, with their parent’s written approval after successfully completing a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Course and passing a written test, a vision test and a hearing test. These programs differ by state but have shown time after time to be one of the single best ways to reduce teen motor vehicle injuries and fatalities.
In Florida, for example, a Learner’s License, permits teens to drive only during daylight hours for first three months and until 10 p.m. with a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old in the front passenger seat.
When the teen turns 16 and has has a valid Learner’s Permit for a least one year without any traffic convictions they can apply for an Intermediate License which allows them to drive between 6 am and 11 p.m with a licensed driver at least 21 years old occupying the closest seat to the right of the driver, or be traveling to or from work.
When the teen turns 17 years old they can drive between 5 am and 1 a.m. accompanied by a licensed driver at least 21 years old occupying the closest seat to the right of the driver or be traveling to or from work. When the teen turns 18 all restrictions are removed from their license.
Consult With A Teen Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney 1-866-597-4529
If you have been involved in a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, or pedestrian accident with a teen driver or if your teen has been injured in a car accident– contact our office today for a free initial legal consultation. Our Miami personal injury law firm over 30 years of combined legal experience investigating motor vehicle accidents on behalf of the injured and their families- and we know how to hold insurance companies accountable for the full monetary value of claims.
Call us today and speak to a qualified Miami car accident lawyer and let us help you obtain the settlement you deserve for your lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, disability, transportation costs and other damages. We are available 24/7 and can make home/ hospital and office visits. Call us today toll-free 1-866-597-4529, email at [email protected] or SKYPE. We are ready to help.