Teen Driver Safety Week

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has a new Web site to focus on the state’s most at-risk drivers – teenagers.

Gov. Crist attended a Teen Driver Safety Summit this week where teen drivers and law enforcement exchanged ideas on how to create the safest possible driving environment for your young drivers.

Motor vehicle crashes continue to be the number one killer of teens. While teens make up six percent of drivers, they are involved in 14 percent of fatal crashes.

The Department has development a driving guide and Web site for parents and teens to use as a resource. The new web site is www.flhsmv.gov/teens.

It describes the state’s graduated license law and offers a log where drivers can add up their minimum of 50 hours of supervised driving before they get their license. TakeTheWheel.net is a Web site by teens that talks to teenagers in an interactive forum for teens to share their driving experiences.

Inexperience behind the wheel, a feeling of invincibility, alcohol, not wearing seat belts – all contribute to the high teen death rate behind the wheel.

The Department reports that the crash rate for teenagers 15 to 19 is 399 per 10,000 drivers, twice as high as their parents, and three to four times higher than their grandparents.That may surprise some.

The bit of good news is that the number of teen fatalities declined 22.5 percent between 2007 and 2008. Still there were 193 teens who died in crashes during that time period and 383 died in crashes where a teen was driving.

And as unbelievable as it sounds, teenage drivers and passengers are still among those least likely to wear their seat belts. Young males, pickup truck drivers and their passengers, and people living in rural areas are among those least likely to buckle up.

Teen drivers and all drivers should know it becomes increasingly difficult to defend someone if they are not wearing a seat belt, especially now that in Florida it is the law.

Source: http://www.flhsmv.gov/news/pdfs/PR101909a.pdf