FL: Teen Safe Driving Coalition Helps Teens Be Safe Drivers (excerpt)
Lawyers. Com | Blog
By Randall L. Spivey
February 22, 2022
Parents spend years protecting their children from all types of dangers. Now they are teenagers and ready to test their wings. Handing them the keys to the car can be a daunting experience.
For many teens receiving their drivers’ licenses is a step towards freedom. However, is your teen ready for the responsibilities inherent in having a driver’s license?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 2,042 people were killed in accidents involving a teen driver between the ages of 15 and 18 in 2019, and teens are:
- Two-and-a-half times more likely to engage in potentially risky behavior when driving with a teenage peer versus driving alone. The likelihood increased to three times when traveling with multiple passengers.
- Safety belts were not worn in one-third of the deaths and serious injuries involving these teen drivers.
- The NHTSA suggests parents do the following:
- Learn about your state’s GDL laws. Note that the laws and restrictions can vary from state to state. Familiarizing yourself with the restrictions placed on your teen’s license can better assist you in enforcing those laws. You have the opportunity to establish some important ground rules for your teen driver. Restrict night driving and passengers, prohibit driving while using the phone or other electronic devices, and require seat belt use at all times.
- Talk to your teen about the dangers of drug and alcohol use. Remind them that it is illegal to drink under the age of 21, and it is illegal–and deadly–to drink and drive. If a teen is under 21, his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) should always be at .00, not just under .08, which is the legal limit for drivers over age 21.
- Be a good role model. Remember that your child looks to you as a driver, so practice safe driving yourself. Set aside time to take your teen on practice driving sessions. It can be a great way to spend time together and to allow your teen to improve some basic driving skills. Your teen’s learning starts at home.
- Don’t rely solely on a driver’s education class to teach your teen to drive. Remember that driver’s education should be used as just part of a GDL system.
The Florida Teen Safe Driving Coalition, a 47-member coalition of Florida state and local agencies, private sector businesses, non-profit organizations, teens, parents, and crash victims works together “…helping teens leverage the proven principles of Graduated Driver Licensing as well as encouraging fundamentally safe driving practices at a young age.”
The coalition’s safety advocates are focused on:
- Creating a safe driving culture for teens through targeted marketing and outreach efforts and extensive education of teens, parents, caregivers, law enforcement, and other relevant partners about safe driving behaviors.
- Advancing teen safe driving laws in Florida through advocacy and public policy by strengthening Florida’s graduated driver’s licensing law and identifying best practices for teen driver education in schools.
The Florida Teen Safe Driving Coalition provides free teen traffic safety presentations where safety speakers provide lasting positive safety messages for teen drivers. Schools can book these presentations at 2020-21 FREE Teen Traffic Safety Presentations. Lee County is already booked for the week of May 9, 2022.
Another source for parents to help their teens is the Passport to Safe Driving. This is a free resource provided by a partnership of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and the National Road Safety Foundation (NRSF). The Passport has talking tips for parents and teen drivers to facilitate meaningful conversations about the importance of teen safe driving.
Some of these tips cover:
- Driving at night
• Obeying the speed limits
• Negotiating left-hand turns
• Driving in adverse weather conditions
• Handling blind spots
• Driving with passengers
• Graduated licensing
• Choosing a driving education resource
• Managing merges
• Respecting roundabouts
Fort Myers Car Accident Attorney Randall Spivey of Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. urges parents to be engaged in their teen’s graduation to having a driver’s license.