Florida car accidents involving teens have a high cost – both in terms of lives lost and in terms of dollars. According to the AAA, car accidents involving teen drivers who are between the ages of 15 and 17 cost the US over $34 billion in 2006 alone in damages and medical costs. Teen drivers cost the US $9.8 billion in fatal crashes that year and teen driver car accidents caused 2,541 fatalities and 406,427 injuries.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that car accidents account for about 36% of deaths for teens, making it a leading cause of death for this age group. The risk of car accidents for teen drivers between 16 and 19 years old is higher than the risk for any other age group. Teens who are 16 and 17 are especially at risk, with one out of three drivers reporting an accident in their first year on the road.
Many Florida car accidents involve young drivers, and there are many ways to reduce the risk for young drivers, according to experts:
1) Increase mandatory training. Teen athletes log in thousands of hours of practice, but most states require just a few dozen hours of training time with a skilled instructor. Asking your political representatives to increase mandatory training is an important first step. In the meantime, parents and family members can pay for extra training time for their teen drivers – and check to make sure that teens take advantage of the offer. The more experienced drivers are, the less likely they are to be in an accident.
2) Focus on defensive driving. Once teens learn the basics of parking, turning, and sharing the road, they should also be taught emergency driving situations and defensive driving or collision-avoidance techniques. Ideally, these would be required by law. Until they are, parents can ensure that their teens get the extra training needed to stay safe. Many national programs cost less than $100.
3) Graduated licensing. Studies of graduated licensing programs have shown that easing new drivers into driving by increasing driving privileges gradually works. Signing pledges and creating new driver agreements to ensure that teens do not drive under the influence or while distracted can also be helpful.
4) Limiting the number of passengers in a car. Additional passengers mean additional distractions and each additional passenger increases the risk of a serious Florida car accident, according to many research studies. Unfortunately, teens tend to ferry many passengers, since younger friends are often without a license and car of their own. Parents can insist that teen drivers drive no more than one or two friends at a time to reduce the risk of accidents.
If you or your child have been in a car accident, contact the Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation to discuss your options and your rights. With law offices in Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood, the Flaxman Law Group has already helped thousands of South Florida personal injury and car accident victims. Call today to speak with our compassionate and experienced staff.