There’s a new report out and it says that Florida lawmakers have the ability to reduce the risks of teen car accidents in West Palm Beach and elsewhere by just tweaking our Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) program. According to the Palm Beach Post News, the recent report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) took a peek at the GDL laws for all 50 states and looked at their influence on the rates for teen car accidents.
The report concluded that the state of Florida could see a near 50 percent reduction in the number of fatal teen car accidents if lawmakers just made a few changes to the current GDL program.
“If every state adopted all five components of the toughest young driver laws in the nation, more than 500 lives could be saved and more than 9,500 collisions could be prevented each year,” says the IIHS reports.
Our auto accident attorneys understand that the state of Florida may not have the strictest GDL program in the country. Our program allows young drivers to obtain a license at an early age and it doesn’t really enforce any real restrictions on them in comparison to other states. For this reason, we’re asking parents to step in where the program lacks. Parents can enact household driving rules to help to further reduce the risks of accidents for the teen drivers in their family.
“States could see immediate reductions in fatal crashes and collision claims as soon as the beefed-up provisions are in force,” says IIHS’s senior vice president Anne McCartt.
How these programs work is they build up a driver’s experience behind the wheel by slowly lifting restrictions as they age and mature. These learning systems typically have three stages, a learner’s permit, an intermediate license and then an unrestricted license.
Right now, the state of Florida isn’t working with all that strict of a GDL program:
-Drivers can apply to get their learner’s license at the age of 15-years-old.
-They must hold this license for at least 12 months,
-Complete 50 hours of supervised driving time. Ten of these hours must be at night.
-Once they complete the above and turn 16, they can apply for an intermediate license.
-At 16-years-old a driver can apply for an intermediate license after they’ve completed the requirements of the previous stages.
-Drivers cannot drive between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. while they’re 16-years-old
-Drivers cannot drive between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. while they’re 17-years-old.
-There are no passenger restrictions in the state of Florida.
-At 18-years-old and after completing all of the above, drivers can apply for an unrestricted license. This is when all restrictions have been lifted.
Parents are asked to not only make sure that their teen drivers are obeying these rules, but that they’re obeying additional household rules that have been enacted to supplement the state’s laws. Your young driver’s safety depends on it.