Recently, two teens died while trying to flee the police in Hendry county. A news agency captured the incident this way

the teens tried to make a sharp right-hand curve but failed, launching their

car into a large canal along the road.

The car hit the south embankment of the canal before falling into the water.

Deputies said the teens died at the scene of the crash.

It is reported that the nineteen and seventeen-year old’s fled at a high rate of speed when the Florida State Trooper attempted to pull them over. The incident happened at about 2 AM.

Accidents caused by teen drivers have been on the rise. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, 2042 people were killed in crashes involving a teen drivers (15-18 years old) in 2019. While driving is an important skill to pick up, teenagers and young drivers first be well equipped for driving before heading for the highway. Parents and the state are responsible for ensuring young adults are well taught and licensed before operating the wheels and ensuring that young adults do not endanger themselves and other road users while trying to commute. 

At What Age Are Teens Allowed to Drive in Florida?

Teens are allowed to drive in Florida from the age of 15. But, with a temporary permit. Then, a parent or guardian can process a learner’s permit for the teenager. A learner’s permit is valid for one year. 

When the age teen turns 16, they can proceed to take a driving test.

Causes of Teen Driver Accidents and Statistics 

Intoxication

Alcohol can be intoxicating. While ingesting alcohol is risky for people of all ages when they intend to drive, it is particularly riskier for teens because of other factors like driver inexperience, peer pressure, and driver distraction.

Drinking alcohol is illegal for people less than 21 years of age, as is driving after drinking any amount of alcohol. Despite this, in 2019, 24% of drivers aged 15–20 were killed in fatal motor vehicle crashes.

In 2019, 15% of drivers aged 15–20 involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes had a BAC of 0.08% or higher – an illegal level for adults aged 21 or older in all U.S. states.

In 2019, 60% of drivers aged 15–20 killed in motor vehicle crashes after drinking and driving were not wearing a seat belt (based on known restraint use).

For young drivers involved in fatal crashes, alcohol involvement is typically higher among male drivers than female drivers. In 2019, 20% of male drivers aged 15–20 years and 14% of female drivers aged 15–20 years involved in fatal crashes had drunk before the crash.

Speed

Speed kills when it is exceeded. Young drivers can be tempted to drive at high speed because of their adrenaline rush. The highway is not a racing track, and teenagers must cultivate the habit of maintaining appropriate speed limits.

In 2019, 31% of male drivers aged 15–20 years and 17% of female drivers aged 15–20 years involved in fatal crashes were speeding.

Drugs

Driving under the influence of a controlled substance can affect cognitive fun

Marijuana negatively affects judgment, motor coordination, decision-making, and reaction time—all of which are important skills for safe driving.

Regardless of age, acute cannabis intoxication has been associated with an increased risk for motor vehicle crashes.

Results from the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey revealed that in 2017, among U.S. high school students who drove, about 13% drove when they had been using marijuana during the 30 days before the survey.

The risk for motor vehicle crashes appears to be higher when driving after using both marijuana and alcohol than driving after using either marijuana by itself or alcohol by itself.

Distracted Driving (Loss of Focus)

Examples of distracted driving include driving and texting, making phone calls, rubbernecking, eating while driving, and manipulating car settings while driving.

Results from the 2019 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey revealed that, among U.S. high school students who drove, 39.0% texted or e-mailed while driving at least once during the 30 days before the survey.

Nighttime and Weekend Driving 

Data from the 2016–2017 National Household Travel Survey indicate that teen drivers aged 16–19 years were almost three times as likely to be involved in fatal nighttime crashes than adult drivers aged 30–59 years per mile driven.

In 2019, 40% of motor vehicle crash deaths among teens aged 13–19 occurred between 9 pm and 6 am, and 52% occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Not Wearing a Seatbelt

National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) Controlled Intersection study from 2016–2019 indicates that seat belt use in the front seat among teens and young adults (16–24 years of age) was approximately 87% each year. In contrast, seat belt use among adults (25 years of age or older) in the front seat was about 90% or higher for each year during the same period.

In 2019, 43.1% of U.S. high school students did not always wear a seat belt when riding in a car driven by someone else.

Among teen drivers and passengers 16–19 years of age who died in car crashes in 2019, almost half were unrestrained at the time of the crash (when restraint use was known).

Youthful exuberance

Many want to be young and act like youngsters. While this is not bad in itself, it should be noted that we all have a degree of responsibility towards each other. As a young adult, your actions should not adversely affect others but cost them their livelihood, wellbeing, and lives. We must act responsibly. We must drive responsibly.

Inexperience and Confidence Crisis

Teenagers, particularly those in their early teen years, have not had much experience with driving. They are considered to be novice drivers. It is commonly said that experience is the best teacher. Good driving is by experience; novice drivers require a lot of experience to perfect this skill. Confidence can also play a role in teen driving. The highway can be an intimidating place for first-time drivers, with heavy vehicles like trucks and SUVs

Aggression and Reckless Driving

Sometimes, young drivers can show aggression behind the steering wheel. Refusing to give up the right of way to another driver where a necessary, inappropriate, and indiscriminate lanes change and reckless driving are all examples.

Drowsiness

Feeling sleepy and still choosing to drive can end up being a tragic decision for anyone. When tired, cognition diminishes.

Prevention of Teen Accidents: Parental and Adult Responsibility

  1. Lead by Example: The parent or guardian is to lead by example. This means they are expected to model the right habit to them. This duty hangs not only on the parent but on every responsible adult and citizen. Children also learn by observation. 
  2. Talk to your Teenager: Talking to your teenager can help shape their perspectives. Speak to them about the dangers of drunk driving, the risk a distracted driver can pose to society, that over-speeding, and that it is not old-fashioned to buckle up with a seat belt anytime behind the steering wheels.
  3. Encourage them to go for tests: You can encourage your teenager to take a driving test to ascertain their level of mastery. 
  4. Please do not give your teenager alcohol: Parents should not indulge their teenagers with alcohol. Staying away from intoxicating or controlled substances does all the good for them. 
  5. Tell them of the consequence: Near misses, severe injuries, life-long pain, disabilities, and death are significant consequences of a road accident. These are serious aftermaths and are not child’s play. When the consequence happens, the teenager may not be able to handle it all alone and will need the help of an adult. 

Teen Driver Accident: Who can be held responsible in Tampa?

Who will be held responsible in Tampa when a teen driver gets involved in an accident (possibly the car does not belong to him)? Would it be the teenager or the adult to whom the vehicle belongs? 

The answer is both. Both of them. Both the teenage driver and the person who owns the vehicle because the adult provided the ‘dangerous instrumentality’ and the teen may or may not have been able to operate the vehicle. The teenager is not spared, and there are no special treatments.

What’s Next? 

Under Personal Injury Protection, you can approach your insurance company to recover compensation when you are involved in an accident. Personal Injury Protection Coverage is ‘no-fault’ coverage. This implies that the injured passenger can claim compensation from their insurance company without having to prove fault. Your PIP covers you, your children, and certain other passengers for up to $10,000 in personal injury protection and $10,000 in property damage coverage.

Your insurance company will compensate you for medical expenses, loss of wages and opportunities, and incidental expenses not exceeding your policy limit.

In Florida, Personal Injury Protection is mandatory. In addition, personal Injury Protection must include at least 10,000 dollars in coverage. 

Contact your Tampa Car Accident Attorney

Driving is a necessary skill, and it is a big step when your teenager begins to drive. The safety of your child and other road users should be of concern to the caring parent or guardian, considering the high rate of car accidents in the state. Asides from the safety of your young adult are the reality that you can also be held liable for their errors if an accident happens.

You cannot keep your teenager from picking up the driving skill, but you can help, mentor and supervise. 

Suppose your teenager was injured in a crash or caused one in Tampa. In that case, you should contact a Tampa Accident Lawyer with experience handling insurance claims involving teenagers and young drivers.

Contact us at the Coleman Law Group for a free case evaluation.

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