Getting their driver’s license is an important milestone in a teenager’s life and they may be very eager to try out their new level of independence and drive whenever they have the chance. Unfortunately, teens are more apt to make risky decisions behind the wheel due to immaturity and lack of experience, which can lead to serious or even fatal car accidents. In fact, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day are so filled with fatal teen car crashes that this period has been coined the “100 deadliest days” for teen auto accidents. It is important to talk to your teen about safe driving practices to avoid having them become another devastating statistic.
The statistics on teen auto accidents
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle accidents are the number two cause of death for teenagers in the U.S. In 2019, approximately 2,400 teens nationwide lost their lives in a car crash and approximately 258,000 suffered serious injuries in a car crash. Teens ages 16 through 19 are most at risk for being involved in an auto accident, especially if they are male, driving with other teen passengers or a newly licensed driver.
Safe driving talking points
It is important for parents in Florida to talk to their teens about safe driving practices. Doing so could make the difference between a close call and a devastating crash. The following are some talking points on safe driving you can discuss with your teen.
- Driving at night. At night, visibility is reduced making it easier to be involved in a car crash. Teens may be especially apt to drive at night on the weekend. It is important for teens to understand that extra care must be taken at night. This includes avoiding drowsy driving. Talk to your teen about the importance of having enough rest before getting behind the wheel.
- Distracted driving. As a parent you may have already discussed the dangers of texting and driving with your teen. Teens are seemingly attached to their cell phones, so it is important that they understand that if they are driving any call or text can wait until they have reached their destination. However, cell phone use is not the only way a teen driver can be distracted. Eating, chatting with passengers or manipulating a GPS or music system can all be distractions that can lead to car crashes.
- Speeding. Teens do not always understand the risks involved with speeding. Speed is often a factor in many fatal motor vehicle accidents. It is important to make sure your teen understands not only how important it is to drive at the posted speed limit, but also that they understand to keep a safe distance from the car in front of them and avoid tailgating.
- Drunk driving. Teens will often experiment with alcohol, not understanding the effect even a small amount can have on their mental and physical faculties. However, this dabbling in alcohol can become even more dangerous if they drink and then decide to get behind the wheel of a car. Drinking even small amounts of alcohol can affect a teen’s driving abilities leading to a car crash. It is for this reason that Florida law has a “zero tolerance” law when it comes to teens and drunk driving.
- Seat belt use. It has been proven time and time again that seat belts save lives. In fact, if your teen is pulled over by police and is not wearing their seat belt, they could receive a ticket. That aside, if a teen is involved in a car crash and is not wearing their seat belt, the likelihood that they could suffer serious injuries or even die is amplified. Make sure your teen always buckles up while in the car, whether they are the driver or a passenger.
Learn more about your rights in a car crash
If you are in a car crash involving a teen driver, you will want to know more about your rights and options. Teens are especially vulnerable to causing car crashes, so it is important to have an open, honest discussion with your teen about safe driving practices. Doing so could prevent a car crash that could seriously injure or even kill your teen or another innocent motorist.