A Safe and Sober Path to Graduation in South Florida

Our teen drivers are facing some of the most dangerous years of their lives. Motor vehicle accidents continue to be the number one cause of death for teens across the country.

According to the latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were close to 2,000 teenage drivers killed in traffic accidents in 2011. This number shows that our teens are in danger, and represents an increase compared to the previous year.

Our Fort Myers car accident lawyers understand that these risks spike during this time of the year, with prom, graduation and summer break right around the corner. Each spring, our teenagers spend more time behind the wheel and face higher risks for accidents.

The newest statistics from the NHTSA report that there were more than 115 teenage drivers killed in the state of Florida in 2011. When you include passengers, there were more than 325 teens killed in car accidents in Florida. We ranked as the third most dangerous state in the country for these kinds of accidents, which means it’s time we focus some of our attention on our young drivers in an effort to improve roadway safety.

It’s not just our teens that are suffering from their inexperience behind the wheel. In 2011, there were close to 4,500 teenage drivers involved in fatal traffic accidents in the United States. Although our teens only account for about 6 percent of all licensed drivers, they were involved in about 10 percent of the fatal accidents recorded during the year.

With graduation season upon us, we’re asking parents and guardians to step forward and talk with their teens about the risks involved with drinking and driving. Thankfully, officials with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are here to offer up some helpful tips to get the conversation started. MADD wants all teens to know that adding alcohol to prom doesn’t help make good memories.

Unfortunately, teens have a bad reputation for drinking in excess. They’re more likely to experience blackouts and brownouts, which cause memory loss. Blackouts cause a drinker to lose all memories while brownouts cause a person to only remember bits and pieces.

To help to push these anti-alcohol messages, MADD has also chosen to enforce Alcohol Awareness Month during the entire month of April. The truth of the matter is that parents play an important role in a teen’s decision to drink. In fact, close to 75 percent of teens say their parents are the number one influence on their decisions.

Although our teens aren’t old enough to legally consume alcohol, that doesn’t mean that they can’t get their hands on it and it doesn’t mean that they’re not going to drink. Have the talk today and help to save their life tomorrow.