Teen driving deaths rise nationally

 While deaths among teen drivers are on the rise nationally, Florida’s fatalities have substantially declined.  According to a new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association,  the nationwide total number of deaths among teen drivers jumped 19 percent during the first half of 2012.  In the first six months of 2012, there were 240 total 16- and 17-year-old driver deaths nationally, up from 202 in the first six months of 2011.  The number of deaths in Florida decreased from 14 to five.
 While Florida’s teen driving deaths were among the highest in the country in 2011, the state has several programs designed to keep teens safe on the roads.  Florida’s Graduated Driver Licensing program puts limitations on teen drivers.  Florida has a learner license for 15-year-olds and an intermediate license for 16- and 17-year-olds. Each license has a designated curfew and set of requirements.
 Teen Traffic Safety statistics show:

  1. Automobile crashes are the leading cause of death and injury to teens in America.
  2. Teenage vehicle collision deaths have reached epidemic proportions in the state of Florida. Our state reports the highest rate of crash involvement (ages 15 to 19 years), highest rate in fatal crashes and the second highest rate of alcohol-related crashes.
  3. Between 25 to 30% of teen drivers will be involved in a crash within the first 12 months of getting their operators license.

The  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that based on miles driven, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.
Specific behaviors are associated with the causes of this high fatality rate. Inexperience combined with speed, alcohol-related driving, not wearing safety belts, distracted driving (cell phone use, texting, loud music, other teen passengers, etc.), drowsy driving, nighttime driving, and drug use contribute to this high percentage of preventable deaths.
So what is the lesson to learn?  Parents need to talk to their children about safety on the road.   

News4jax: Teen Traffic Deaths on the Rise
Florida Sheriff’s: Teen Driver Facts