Teens at High Risk of South Florida Traffic Accidents this March

Parents and Guardians — You might want to keep a closer eye on the teens in your family. It could save their life. According to a recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the number of 16- and 17-year-old driver fatalities in passenger vehicles saw a significant increase during the first six months of 2012. According to preliminary reports, this number jumped by nearly 20 percent. There were roughly 200 teen drivers killed during the first six months of 2011 and close to 250 during the same time in 2011.

Our Cape Coral accident lawyers understand that there were close to 10 drivers age 16 and 17 who were killed in traffic accidents during the first 6 months of 2012. During this time, there were 25 states that reported an increase in the number of these fatalities. Only 17 reported a drop and 8 reported the same number as the year before.

These numbers show what a risk our young drivers face. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the overall number of traffic accident fatalities increased by less than 10 percent in 2012. It’s alarming that our teens saw such a significantly higher increase.

But where did we go wrong?

Officials believe that it’s our Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) programs, laws and enforcement efforts that are failing us. Researcher Dr. Allan Williams says that these laws and the enforcement of them may be leveling off since they’ve been in place for some time now.

He also says that our economy has something to do with it. Since our economy started improving, Americans are spending more time behind the wheel — and that includes our teens. The month of March serves as one of the most dangerous times, too. With March, we’ve got spring break and vastly approaching is prom, graduation and summer break. All of these events give time to our teens to travel. When they spend more time on our roadways, they have higher risks for accidents.

“Our goal is to strive toward zero deaths, so our aim would be that these deaths should go down every year,” said Dr. Williams.

Parents and guardians are asked to talk with the teens in their family to help to head off any of these problems before they get here. These newly-licensed drivers don’t have as much experience behind the wheel as you and I. Many of them even think they’re invincible out there. It’s important that the conversation about safe driving habits with our young drivers is an ongoing one. They need to understand that driving is a privilege that needs to be taken seriously and that there are some pretty harsh consequences for acting irresponsibly behind the wheel. Make sure you set ground rules and household consequences for any unsafe driving habits. Your effort can help to save their life.