I am very passionate about trying to help teenage drivers stay safe during the early years of learning how to drive a car. I’ve been a sponsor of the door he saves lives foundation for five years now and going to high schools and scaring kids into driving safely has been a great privilege and honor.
According to the national safety Council, auto accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers! In fact, teenage drivers are up to 400% more likely to get in a serious car accident then a driver who is at least 19 years or older. Those first few years, 15 through 19, are filled with learning the lessons of driving a car. Unfortunately, some of those lessons are incredibly dangerous and even fatal.
There is no doubt that this an experience related danger goes up dramatically when teenagers start to use handheld electronic devices. It is hard enough to negotiate changing the radio station or looking at a navigation unit and driving your car for an experienced person, much less a good teenager. Add alcohol and/or texting to the mix and this distracted driving things quickly become deadly.
Teenagers need to keep in mind that they have limited driving privilege is from the time they are 15 through the time they are 18. When you are 15 years old in Florida you have the right to a learners’ permit. That means you can only drive with an adult 21 years of age or older. You’re only allowed to drive the car from 6 AM until 11 PM. After that, you need to find a driver. This time parameter remains from the time you are 16 until the time you’re 17, but if you pass your drivers exam when you’re 16 You can drive alone during those hours. Once you turn 17 and until you were 18 your hours increased from 5 AM until 1 AM. When you are 18 years old all restrictions are removed. But that doesn’t mean things get easier.
Lighting, speed, and weather are additional factors that young drivers need to learn to appreciate. The faster you go the more likely that you will get into a serious automobile accident. The darker it is the harder and faster things go wrong. As weather conditions change, it often results in fatal car crashes for kids that drive without experience in how to handle a car in such conditions.
It takes time to experience these conditions and to gain a sense of how a car reacts in adverse weather. Florida is known for its terrible “pop up” rainstorms filled with lightning, hail and heavy rains in the late summer afternoons. Young drivers need to learn to appreciate the dangers of trying to drive through such a terrible storm.
It would be nice to believe that as car safety has improved so have the number of lives lost in automobile accidents. We have seat belts that keep people incredibly safe in every single car. Almost every car on the road now has front impact airbags as well as side and skirt protection. Anti-lock breaks, emergency crash protection, radar cruise control, lane departure warning’s, multiple cameras looking behind and down the side of cars, and many other new features are making cars increasingly safer to drive. Unfortunately, as cars get safer people become less likely to drive safely! It is almost a sociological anomaly that even though cars are many times safer, the number of deaths per year due to car accident has not decreased.
We need to teach teenagers that common sense must rule the day. They can never drink and drive! Let them know that if they do drink any alcohol and drive, get into an accident while texting, or do anything that is reckless in the car jeopardizes their entire financial future as well as their parents’ total financial well-being. Keep in mind that between the ages of 15 and 18, parents are 100% responsible for everything that happens to that child that is driving a car. It does not matter if it is their car or a borrowed car because some parents have signed the state assumption of liability form to give that child the right to get a license in the State of Florida. I am a trial lawyer by training. I see how a teenager getting into a wreck can cause a family terrible financial devastation. I understand how expensive insurance can be to add on a teen driver. But there is no contest between the financial risk of a teen driving vs. the cost of the insurance. The need for insurance wins! Get yourself significant insurance if you have a teenage driver in the house!
If anyone you know is harmed by a driver who is intoxicated, texting and driving or acting recklessly please contact LaBovick LaBovick & Diaz. The consultation is always free and we never get paid until we get money for you!