Our injury lawyers in Cape Coral and Fort Myers know the year-end holidays are among the most dangerous times of the year for our young drivers. We have seen these tragedies forever ruin the holiday season for far too many families.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles got a jump on holiday travel safety as part of its participation in national “Teen Driver Safety Week” in late October.
Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 2,500 teens are killed and nearly 300,000 are injured every year in traffic collisions. Those ages 16-19 face risks three times higher than other motorists on the road. The news is no better in Florida, where more than 63,000 collisions a year involve teenagers.
Holiday Driving Risks for Teenagers
Teens are at risk both because they are more likely to engage in unsafe driving and because they more often fail to understand the risks or to react appropriately to dangerous situations.
Understanding the most common risk factors can go a long way toward keeping you and your family safe this holiday season. Our Fort Myers injury lawyers are entering our 50th year fighting for the rights of accident victims in Southwest Florida. Many of our cases involve common elements:
New Drivers: Obey the restrictions of Florida’s Graduated Driver’s Licensing Program. These restrictions give teenagers driving rights in stages and include restrictions on night driving and the number of passengers in the vehicle.
Traffic Violations: Teenagers are much more likely to inadvertently commit traffic infractions or to fail to follow the rules of the road because they do not fully understand the consequences. Obeying traffic control devices and the speed limit should be two nonnegotiables when speaking to your teen driver.
Distracted driving: Teens are among the most susceptible to the temptations of using a hand-held device at the wheel. And among the least experienced when it comes to seeing the unfolding road risks ahead.
Drunk driving: While the concern used to be primarily alcohol when it came to preventing teens from driving under the influence, marijuana, vape products, and other mind-altering substances are often favored by today’s youth. Let your teenager know they can always call you for a safe ride home.
Teen passengers: Aside from driving distracted, the most dangerous thing your teen can do is to travel with too many other young people in the vehicle. Statistically, a teenager’s accident risks increase exponentially with every teen passenger.
Choosing a vehicle: The start of the school year is when many teenagers take driver’s education, and the holidays are often a time when they get their first vehicle, or are given use of a family vehicle. Choosing the right vehicle for a teenager and having proper insurance, including optional uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, are vital steps to making sure your young driver is adequately protected on the road.
Taking proactive measures when it comes to keeping your kids safe as they become increasingly independent is the best thing you can do to reduce their risks, while providing you with some peace of mind.
If you or a loved one is injured, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.