Jacksonville Second in Fatal Teen Crashes

During the holiday season there are more teen drivers on the road and out of school which reminds us of a not so cheery subject.

Nearly 6, 000 young people die in auto accidents each year and it remains the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. today.

Now Allstate Insurance has a word of caution for teen drivers in the Jacksonville area.

The roads in three metro areas in Florida are the tops nationwide for fatal auto crashes involving teens.

The Tampa Bay area, Jacksonville, and Orlando rank first, second and third in the study by Allstate that analyzed crash statistics and claims around the country over the past eight holiday seasons.

According to the Florida Department of Transportation, there were 983 traffic fatalities involving teens in 2006, and 1,000 in 2007.

There were 29 fatal traffic crashes in Jacksonville alone during the past holiday season. In more than half of cases, the teenager was a passenger in the vehicle and a captive audience.

Allstate’s report doesn’t say why this happens but it may be that these cities are particularly spread out and teens have to drive greater distances to get anywhere. There may also be more instances of holiday parties and drunk driving.

And let’s not leave out “road rage” which seems particularly high during the holiday season.

These numbers are unacceptable. Please don’t let your child become a statistic.

Step in and talk to them about safe driving habits. Believe it or not, parents have the strongest influence over their teen’s driving habits. Stress that driving is a privilege and not a right. They should absolutely not get into a car, especially with other teens where alcohol is involved or they don’t know the driver.

The risk to your teen is highest at age 16, Allstate reports from statistics. Their crash rate per miles is twice as high as it is for 18 to 19-year-olds. Also interesting to note that Saturday is the worst day for teen crashes and almost half occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

On January first, typically an average of 23 teenagers die in auto crashes every year. That’s just behind the death toll for an average July 4th – which averages 28 teen deaths.

Try to fill in the gaps that driver’s education courses do not. Make this a holiday season to remember – for the right reasons.