AAA Offers Florida Parents Information to help Keep Teen Drivers Safe
Gregg Hollander | July 17, 2011 | Personal Injury
Parents now have access to state-specific information to help them prepare their teens for the dangers and the responsibilities of being a licensed driver. Parents can log on to AAA Keys2Drive: The AAA Guide to Teen Driver Safety to learn the most effective way to educate their young Florida driver and reduce their risks of a car accident in Boca Raton and elsewhere in Florida.
Our Boca Raton car accident attorneys understand that car accidents take the lives of more teens than cancer, homicide and suicide combined. It’s not just the drivers who are at risk. Anyone that is involved in an accident with a teen driver is likely to be injured. A number of teens are even killed as passengers of other teen drivers. According to recent studies, when your teen rides with an older sibling, another teenage neighbor or a friend, they’re at an increased risk for being involved in an accident. Even the smartest and brightest teens face an increased risk of being involved in a deadly traffic accident compared to a driver that has more experience.
Based on miles driven, teens are involved in three times as many fatal traffic accidents as all other drivers. It is important that you talk to your teen and emphasize that driving is risky and should be taken seriously. Teens are most likely to listen to their parents when it comes to instructions on how to drive.
Car accidents took the lives of 5,665 people between the ages of 16- and 20-years old in 2009. The AAA website encourages parents to ride along with their teen as often as possible. You should ride with them in the passenger seat while they drive. Act as their coach and provide them with some constructive criticism. Supervised driving is actually some of the safest driving your teen will do and it will also help ease your teen into driving. Start off their supervised training in low-risk conditions and gradually introduce new roads and traffic conditions. It is important for you to help your teen gain driving experience in all conditions. Through supervised driving you will be able to gauge your teen’s progress in driving and help to determine when they’re ready to drive solo.
In Florida, teens are allowed to get a learner’s permit at the age of 15. With this license, they’re allowed to drive with a licensed driver age 21 or older supervising and sitting in the front seat. During this time, teens may only practice during daylight hours. After three months of daylight driving, they can then practice no later than 10 p.m. They are required to practice driving for a minimum of 50 hours, including 10 hours at night, with a parent or a legal guardian.
Next, they’re allowed to get an intermediate license. When your teen turns 16 and has completed all the requirements of the learner’s permit, they can then apply for the next step. To obtain an intermediate license, they must pass a behind-the-wheel driving test, complete a vision test and provide proof of practice driving time. Parents must accompany their teens to the DMV to sign the application form.
Lastly, and after completing all requirements of the intermediate license, your teen can apply for a full unrestricted license. The state doesn’t place any night or passenger limits on drivers with unrestricted licenses.
AAA offers these tips to parents to help them raise a safe driver:
-Talk with your teen about the importance of resisting peer pressure. Remind them that their only focus should be the roadway when behind the wheel.
-Talk to them about the consequences of distracted driving. Many teens admit to cell phone use and texting while behind the wheel despite clear dangers. This is especially common in Florida since we currently have no law to ban the activity. Make a family rule to halt all driving distractions.
-Discuss the importance of abiding by the speed limit. Speed is one of the top contributors in crashes for teens and adults.
-Limit the number of passengers that they can travel with. Passengers serve as another form of distraction.
-Although your teen is not old enough to legally consume alcohol, it doesn’t mean that they won’t. Enforce strict zero tolerance rules with your teen and be a good role model.
-Try creating a parent-teen driving agreement to lay out some ground rules that everyone agrees on.
In 2009, nearly 400 teens were killed in motor-vehicle accidents in Florida alone according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Through more comprehensive driver education, we can make a conscious effort to decrease these fatalities and help to save the lives of our young ones on the roadway.