[New Study] The Most Dangerous Intersections & Areas for Teen Drivers in Florida

February 15, 2021 in

Florida teen driver study

On March 29, 2021, a 15-year-old driver in Tallahassee, Florida lost control of his car on a dark, narrow road, and crashed into a tree. The high-speed crash caused minor injuries for him but killed both passengers – who were also teenagers. Officials reported that the driver’s lack of experience, speed, and roadway conditions all contributed to the crash.

Teenage drivers are more at risk of getting into a car crash than any other age group, and Florida teens are no exception. Several factors contribute to this, including their lack of driving experience, tendency to multitask, and misperceived sense of invincibility. At LaBovick Law Group, we take teenage driver safety very seriously. Brian LaBovick often works with schools, educating teenagers on driving responsibly and avoiding potential crashes. With teenagers returning to school and increasing their time on the road, our firm worked with data visualization agency, 1Point21 Interactive to analyze all crashes involving one or more Florida teenage drivers from 2012-2019. We identified the most common areas of concern for teens in Palm Beach County – where our office is located – and also across Florida.

During our study period, there were a total of 2,698,393 crashes in Florida; 12 percent – or 325,628 of the crashes – involved a teenage driver. Because the data from the Florida Department of Transportation does not indicate if the teenage driver caused the crash – only that the crash involved at least one driver in the age range of 14-17.

Main Findings:

  • Florida teenagers are nearly 6 times more likely than adults to get into car crashes.
  • Teen-related crashes are more likely than adult-only crashes to involve speeding and distracted or aggressive driving, but less likely to involve an impaired driver.
  • Crashes involving teen drivers are more likely to happen later in the evening, after the school day.
  • Across Florida, teens are not more likely than adults to get into crashes near schools, malls, theaters, or churches.
  • Teen-related crashes are more likely to result in an injury, but less likely to be fatal.
  • 22 percent of fatal teen crashes involved alcohol.

[Interactive Map] All Crashes Involving Teen Drivers in Florida

This map is interactive.  Each point represents the location of a motor vehicle crash involving a teenager.  Click and drag to change the focus of the map location.  Zoom in using the mouse wheel or touch gestures and hover each point to reveal more information about the collision.   For best experience, rotate mobile devices.

Are Teens Involved in Crashes More Often Than Adults?

Florida teens, ages 14-17, are significantly more likely to get into a car crash than adults. During 2012-2019, the rate of teen-related crashes was nearly 6 times that of adults (5.88 times). Adult drivers were involved in 1.97 crashes per 100 drivers per year, and teen drivers were involved in 11.58 crashes per 100 teen drivers per year.

Which Counties Have the Highest Teen Crash Rates?

Alachua, Leon, and Duval – North Florida counties with largely populated cities – have the top three highest rates of teen-related crashes, while Lafayette, St. Johns, and Hendry have the lowest rates. Lafayette County is both the “safest” for teen drivers and the second least populated in Florida.

In Florida, the state average is 11.58 crashes per 100 teen drivers per year. Alachua County – with the highest average – is nearly double that: 21 crashes per 100 teen drivers per year. Palm Beach County’s rate is below the state average at 8.1 crashes per 100 teen drivers per year.

The 25 Counties With the Highest Teen Crash Rates:

  1. Alachua – 21 crashes [per 100 teen drivers per year]
  2. Leon – 20.6 crashes
  3. Duval – 20.1 crashes
  4. Miami-Dade – 19.2 crashes
  5. Columbia – 15.9 crashes
  6. Bay – 15.3 crashes
  7. Escambia – 15.2 crashes
  8. Madison – 14.4 crashes
  9. Orange – 13.7 crashes
  10. Manatee – 13.2 crashes
  11. Broward – 12.6 crashes
  12. Pinellas – 12.1 crashes
  13. Jefferson – 11.9 crashes
  14. Glades – 11.7 crashes
  15. Putnam – 11.5 crashes
  16. Taylor – 11.3 crashes
  17. Walton – 11.3 crashes
  18. Hillsborough – 11.3 crashes
  19. Hardee – 11.2 crashes
  20. Sarasota – 10.2 crashes
  21. Okaloosa – 10.2 crashes
  22. Polk – 10 crashes
  23. Monroe – 9.9 crashes
  24. Sumter – 9.8 crashes
  25. Gadsden – 9.8 crashes

The 25 Counties With the Lowest Teen Crash Rates:

  1. Lafayette – 2.6 crashes [per 100 teen drivers per year]
  2. St. Johns – 5.2 crashes
  3. Hendry – 5.4 crashes
  4. Gulf – 5.5 crashes
  5.  Flagler – 5.8 crashes
  6. Nassau – 5.92 crashes
  7. Indian River – 5.98 crashes
  8.  Collier – 6.2 crashes
  9. Clay – 6.4 crashes
  10. Union – 7 crashes
  11.  Martin – 7.15 crashes
  12.  Seminole – 7.16 crashes
  13. Bradford – 7.17 crashes
  14. Hamilton – 7.4 crashes
  15. Dixie – 7.5 crashes
  16. Santa Rosa – 7.82 crashes
  17. Liberty – 7.83 crashes
  18. Holmes – 7.90 crashes
  19. Gilchrist – 7.97 crashes
  20. Brevard – 8.00 crashes
  21. Wakulla – 8.06 crashes
  22. Calhoun – 8.08 crashes
  23. Palm Beach – 8.1 crashes
  24. Desoto – 8.12 crashes
  25. St. Luci – 8.2 crashes

Where Do Crashes Take Place?

Urban vs. Rural 

Overall, teens are more likely to get in a car crash in a suburban area than in any other area. More than half of teen-related crashes – 53.3 percent – occurred in a suburban area, and teens are five times more likely to get in a car crash in a suburban area and three times more likely to get in a car crash in the city than in a rural area.

All drivers – teenagers or adults – are more likely to get into a crash in an urban or suburban setting. Teens are slightly more likely than adults to be involved in a crash in a non-city area (suburbs, town, rural).

School Zones or Malls?

There is an equal likelihood of teen-related crashes and adult-only crashes near schools. Across Florida, teen crashes are surprisingly not more likely to occur near high schools, theaters, and malls. Palm Beach County is an exception, though: There are more crashes involving teen drivers than only adult drivers within 0.25 miles of high schools and malls.

What Causes Teen Crashes?

A majority of teen-related crashes – 32 percent – take place at an intersection, and 17 percent involve some form of distracted driving. Teen-related crashes are more likely than adult-only crashes to involve speeding and distracted or aggressive driving, but less likely to involve an impaired driver.

Teen-related crashes are also more likely to involve a collision with a moving object (like a car or person) and less likely to involve collisions with a fixed object (such as a wall or pole) or non-collision (such as an explosion or rollover).

Alcohol – While only 1.3 percent of all teen crashes involved alcohol, fatal crashes were a different story.  In fact, 22 percent of all teen fatal crashes were alcohol-related.

When Do Teen Crashes Occur?

Teen crashes happen on the same weekdays as adult-only crashes, but not at the same time of day. Teen-related crashes are more likely than adult-only-crashes to occur later in the day – after school – and peak at 3 p.m. Over 26 percent of crashes occurred between 3-5 p.m. Teen-related crashes are less likely to occur during school hours (8 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

Teen crashes are more likely than adult crashes to happen between 2pm and midnight

Teen crashes also take place most often on Thursdays and Fridays, and least likely on the weekends. 17 percent of crashes occurred on a Friday, and 15 percent on a Thursday. A little over 23 percent of crashes happened over the weekend (Saturday and Sunday combined).

How Serious Are Teen-Related Crashes?

Teen-related crashes are more likely than adult-only crashes to cause an injury to one of the parties, but a large percentage are not serious injuries.

What Are the Riskiest Intersections for Teens in Florida?

We created a collision risk index (CRI) that weighs the number of collisions and assigns more weight to severe injuries. By this criterion, State Highway 70 and 14th Street West in Bayshore Gardens is the riskiest intersection in Florida, with a CRI score of 70. From 2012-2019, this intersection saw more teen crashes involving serious injuries than any other intersection. There were 5 teen crashes ending in serious injury, one fatal teen crash, and one teen crash involving a minor injury.

Rank Intersection City Total Crashes Injury Crashes Percent Teen Score
1 State Highway 70 & 14th Street West Bayshore Gardens 34 6 14% 70
2 US Highway 19 North & Tampa Road Palm Harbor 45 12 14% 65
3 State Highway 16 & Pacetti Road St Augustine 30 3 28% 61
4 Southwest 13th Street & West University Avenue Gainsville 46 9 23% 59
5 Beach Boulevard & Saint Johns Bluff Road South Jacksonville 29 5 13% 58
6 County Road 582 & North Dale Mabry Highway Greater Northdale 42 12 18% 58
7 Hodges Boulevard & Beach Boulevard Jacksonville 44 8 18% 56
8 Loretto Road & San Jose Boulevard Jacksonville 38 4 20% 56
9 US Highway 301 & Progress Boulevard Riverview 38 9 15% 55
10 West Brandon Boulevard & Brandon Town Center Drive Brandon 36 5 16% 55
11 Southwest 8th Street & Southwest 107th Avenue University Park 42 6 19% 52
12 Ricker Road & Jacksonville Heights Road Jacksonville 34 3 16% 51
13 Willow Oak Drive & State Route 56 Wesley Chapel 21 7 26% 48
14 Southwest Bascom Norris Drive & Northwest Bascom Norris Drive Lake City 33 3 20% 46
15 Argyle Forest Boulevard & State Highway 21 Jacksonville 37 9 12% 46
16 Hanley Road & West Waters Avenue Tampa 27 11 15% 46
17 West Tennessee Street & Stadium Drive Tallahassee 32 5 30% 45
18 State Highway 10 & Joeandy Drive Jacksonville 37 3 18% 44
19 West Waters Avenue & North Dale Mabry Highway Tampa 32 4 13% 44
20 Country Place Boulevard & State Highway 54 New Port Richey 15 7 15% 44
21 State Highway 780 & North Beneva Road Sarasota 27 3 17% 44
22 South University Drive & Southwest 24th Street Davie 41 3 16% 44
23 US Highway 301 & State Highway 674 Wimauma 23 4 15% 43
24 Southwest 40th Street & Southwest 117th Avenue Miami 26 3 15% 43
25 Tuskawilla Road & Red Bug Lake Road Winter Springs 31 12 30% 43

 

What Are the Riskiest Intersections for Teens in Palm Beach County?

Since our firm serves the communities in Palm Beach County primarily, we also wanted to know where teens are at the highest risk here.  By using the collision risk index, the riskiest intersection in Palm Beach County is Okeechobee Boulevard & North Military Trail in West Palm Beach.

Rank Intersection City Total Crashes Injury Crashes Percent Teen Score
1 Okeechobee Blvd & N Military Trl West Palm Beach 17 7 12% 42
2 State Hwy 808 & NW 10th Ave Boca Raton 25 8 36% 41
3 State Hwy 808 & NW 15th Ave Boca Raton 32 9 23% 41
4 State Rd 7 & Boca Raton Rd W Margate 23 11 18% 34
5 State Hwy 882 & Haverhill Rd S West Palm Beach 17 8 11% 33
6 Okeechobee Blvd & N State Rd 7 Royal Palm Beach 25 3 21% 32
7 Haverhill Rd & State Hwy 802 Greenacres 23 5 16% 32
8 Pinehurst Dr & Forest Hill Blvd West Palm Beach 12 6 16% 32
9 Lyons Rd & State Hwy 882 Wellington 16 7 40% 31
10 Lake Worth Rd & S Congress Ave Palm Springs 20 8 14% 28
11 State Hwy 800 & N Federal Hwy Boca Raton 10 3 13% 27
12 NW 13th St & Glades Rd Boca Raton 15 8 23% 27
13 Jog Rd & Le Chalet Blvd Boynton Beach 11 4 23% 27
14 State Hwy 882 & 16th Pl S Greenacres 10 2 21% 26
15 State Hwy 882 & Jog Rd Greenacres 16 6 11% 26
16 Butts Rd & Glades Rd Boca Raton 18 8 20% 26
17 State Hwy 808 & NW 22nd Way Boca Raton 16 5 19% 25
18 Lake Worth Rd & Jog Rd Lake Worth 16 8 12% 24
19 State Hwy 812 & State Hwy 7 Lake Worth 11 5 20% 24
20 Central Blvd & W Indiantown Rd Jupiter 16 3 16% 23
21 St Andrews Blvd & Glades Rd Boca Raton 16 7 16% 23
22 Lake Worth Rd & State Hwy 7 Lake Worth 16 7 14% 23
23 Georgian Pk Dr & Toney Penna Dr Jupiter 10 3 29% 23
24 10th Ave N & S Military Trl Lake Worth 7 1 17% 22
25 6th Ave S & S Congress Ave Palm Springs 13 9 13% 22

Which High Schools in Palm Beach County Have the Most Crashes Nearby?

For more context, we looked at how many teen driver crashes were near each Palm Beach County high school. Boca Raton Community High School is above all the rest, but it is also near two freeways.

Type Name City Quarter Mile Radius Half Mile Radius 1 Mile Radius
Public Boca Raton Community High School Boca Raton 105 353 713
Private Aleesa Coats West Palm Beach 84 139 362
Private Obridge Academy West Palm Beach 57 104 377
Private Dibacco School Lake Worth 56 139 427
Public Forest Hill Community High School West Palm Beach 49 118 227
Public Park Vista Community High School Lake Worth 42 64 154
Public Alexander W Dreyfoos Junior School Of The Arts West Palm Beach 37 122 268
Public Lake Worth High School Lake Worth 36 145 444
Private Academic Alternative Education Boca Raton 35 57 93
Public Santaluces Community High Lantana 35 61 179

Safety Tips for Teen Drivers

Because teen drivers are significantly more likely to be involved in a car crash than any other age group, it is important to practice the following safety tips:

  • Remove all distractions within your control. Put your phone on “driving mode” to silence notifications. Remind yourself that your safety is always more important than responding to that text, call, or social media post.
  • Avoid driving at night. There is a reason why Graduating Driver Licensing (GDL) programs place limits on night driving for new drivers. Visibility at night is low and as a novice driver, your risk of getting into a crash increases significantly.
  • Limit passengers in your car. Teen-related crashes are more likely to occur when teen drivers get distracted by their teenage passengers, which is why GDL programs also limit the number of passengers new drivers can have. When you are a new driver, it can be fun but extremely distracting to have a car packed with your friends and full of noise and laughter. Remember that when you get distracted, you put not only yourself at risk but also your friends and others on the road.
  • Follow the speed limit. As a new driver, you have less experience on the road and your reaction time is naturally slower, so it is important to choose to drive at the speed limit and not speed.
  • Don’t be in a hurry. Avoid making quick, impulsive, or risky decisions just to save time. Take your time to remember your safe driving guidelines. Your safety matters more than everything else.
  • Be extra alert at intersections. Teen-related crashes are more likely to occur at intersections, so it is important for you to practice extra caution in these areas.

LaBovick Law Group is deeply committed to The Safety 4 Life Foundation, which creates impactful educational programs designed to change dangerous behavior on and off the road. Our inspirational experiences act as a guide for children and families to make positive choices that save lives.

Methodology and Fair Use

This study is based on 2012-2019 crash data from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Safety Office. The data does not specify which driver in the crash was the teenager or who was at fault for causing the crash – only that the crash involved a driver in the age range of 14-17.

If you would like to report or republish our findings, please link to this page to provide a citation for our work.