For more information on FDOT Teen Driver Safety and related programs and grants, visit the Safety Office Teen Driver Safety page. Visit the Florida Teen Safe Driving Coalitions' 100 Deadliest Days for Teen Driver's Page for more.
The “100 Deadliest Days” is the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when fatal teen crashes increase dramatically. Nationwide over 7,000 people died in teen-related crashes from 2010–2019 during this summer period.
Teens drivers have a higher rate of fatal crashes, due to immaturity, lack of skills, and lack of experience. Teenagers speed, they make mistakes, they wear their safety belts less often, and they get distracted easily – especially if their friends are in the car.
Parents are the best line of defense to ensure a safe ride and have more influence on their teens than they may think.
What Can You Do?
- Talk to your teen about the rules and responsibilities involved in driving. Share some stories and statistics related to teen drivers and distracted driving. Remind your teen often that driving is a skill that requires the driver's full attention. Texts and phone calls can wait until arriving at his or her destination.
- Familiarize yourself with Florida's graduated driver licensing law, and enforce its guidelines for your teen. View Florida’s laws on distracted driving, create your own rules if necessary. Restricting the number of passengers your teen can have, or the hours your teen can drive, is a very effective way to minimize distraction for your teen driver. Talk about the consequences of distracted driving and make yourself and your teen aware of your state's penalties for talking or texting on a phone while driving.
- Set consequences for distracted driving. If your teen breaks a distraction rule you've set, consider suspending your teen’s driving privileges, further limiting the hours during which they can drive, or limiting the places where they can drive. Parents could also consider limiting a teen’s access to their cell phone—a punishment that in today’s world could be seen by teens as a serious consequence.
- Set the example by keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel while driving. Be consistent between the message you tell your teen and your own driving behaviors. Novice teen drivers most often learn from watching their parents.
Teenage Driver Facts
- Nationally, teen drivers were involved in approximately 955,913 crashes resulting in 4,000 fatalities and 359,268 serious injuries in 2018.
- Florida has more than 400,000 registered teen drivers, age 15 to 19.
- In Florida, teen drivers were involved in 59,301 crashes resulting in 290 fatalities and 2,256 serious injuries in 2018.
- Teens were 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.
- More crashes involving teen drivers occurred on Friday than on any other day of the week.
- Contrary to the perception that non-Florida residents are frequently involved in Florida crashes, only 3% of fatalities, serious injuries, and crashes involving a teen driver in Florida occurred with a non-Florida resident.
Tips to Keep Teen Driver’s Safe
Limit Passengers. When a teen driver has their friends in the car, the risk of a crash increases dramatically! Two additional passengers increase the risk of a crash by 158%.
Eliminate Distractions. It’s just not worth the risk! That text, TikTok, or email can wait. Instead, focus on driving, or pull over to a safe location if you must interact with your phone.
Restrict Nighttime Driving. Reduced visibility, inexperience, and driver drowsiness are all factors that make driving at night more dangerous for teens. Curfew restrictions apply during nighttime driving hours for all licensed teens aged 16 & 17.
Never Drive Impaired. Drugs and alcohol can alter your ability, perception, attention, coordination, reaction time, and other skills needed to drive alert and safe. Never ride with an impaired driver and always have a plan to get home safe! Parents, make sure your teen knows they can count on you for a safe ride!
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