Teen Drivers: The Risks of SummerTeen drivers have increased risks behind the wheel for a number of reasons. They lack experience behind the wheel, which means that obstacles adults could handle with ease create bigger problems for teen drivers. Teen drivers show higher rates of distraction behind the wheel and have a greater likelihood of taking chances that adult drivers wouldn't take. During the summer, in particular, several factors contribute to increased risk for teen drivers.
- Teen drivers spend more time behind the wheel for recreational driving. Instead of merely driving to work and school, in the summer teen drivers go for a longer drives with their friends and drive just for the fun of it. Often, teen drivers want to enjoy the novelty of having the freedom to go where they want to go, when they want to go there.
- During the summer, teens drive to less-familiar locations. During the school year, teens often restrict their driving to familiar places and roads: school, work, and a select few locations they visit on a regular basis. During the summer, on the other hand, they have more places they want to go and more things they want to do. As a result, teen drivers find themselves on unfamiliar roads, which can significantly increase accident risk.
- Teens have plenty to talk about and plenty of distractions on their minds. Distraction contributes to around 58 percent of teen accidents, according to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute. During the summer, teens have less contact with their friends at school, so they spend more time texting or talking on the phone to compensate. While 94 percent of teens acknowledge that texting while driving increases risk and danger, many of them do it anyway. During the summer, this risk increases as they spend more time making plans with friends. Even a quick, “Hey, are you on your way?” text can distract a teen driver at a critical moment behind the wheel.
- Teens have more passengers. What fun is going out during the summer if you can't take your friends with you? During the summer, teens take their friends along on drivers. Just one teen passenger, however, increases the fatal crash risk by 44 percent. Three teen passengers may raise the rate by as much as 300 percent.
- Increased road construction can add to the risk. During the summer months, many cities take on much-needed road construction projects. While these projects help improve driving conditions long-term, they can cause many short-term hazards, including narrower roadways and detours. Teen drivers struggle more than adults to navigate these obstacles, increasing their risk of accidents.
- Teens have fewer limitations in summer. Half of all teen drivers, for example, drive in the dark more often during the summer than they do during other times, raising the odds that they will crash. During summer, many parents do not stick to strict curfews, and allow their teens to go out later or to participate in more activities.
- Fun events can also increase teen recklessness. Emotion runs high during events popular with teens during the summer months. Teens celebrate graduation, get excited about parties, or drive more recklessly leading up to vacation, especially if they drive themselves to that location. About 66 percent of teen drivers and passengers involved in fatal crashes chose not to wear their seat belts, a simple decision that can substantially increase injury risks.
Keeping Your Teen Driver Safer During the SummerAs the parent of a teen driver, you do not want your teen to become a statistic—and you do want him to stay safer on the road. While you can't always prevent accidents, you can take several steps to keep your teen safer on the road in the summer months. Pay attention to teen driver restrictions. In Florida, 16-year-old drivers cannot drive between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless they have a licensed driver age 21 or older in the car with them. Seventeen-year-old drivers may not drive between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. The law makes exceptions for young drivers traveling to-or-from summer jobs, however. Institute your own rules. Florida law, for example, does not currently limit the number of passengers teen drivers can have in their vehicles, though other states allow a young driver only a single passenger unless she transports her siblings to and from school. As a Florida parent, you may want to institute your own rules for your teen, including:
- How many passengers your teen can have in the vehicle. Remember, each teen passenger raises the risk that your teen driver will have a fatal car accident. Each passenger increases distraction and can add an element of recklessness.
- Where your teen's cell phone should reside when he drives. Keeping the phone in the back seat or the trunk can reduce the odds that your teen will suffer distraction at a critical moment.
- Where your teen can drive. Some teens, for example, may benefit from geographic restriction in their driving privileges until they have more experience on the road.
- When your teen can drive. You may find that your teen driver loses focus after 10 p.m., or that she struggles to drive in the dark. Restricting your teen to more reasonable driving hours can help keep her safer on the road during the dangerous summer driving months.
- Taking your teen to late-night events yourself, especially if your teen struggles to drive in the dark.
- Offering to carpool with other parents, even if you find it inconvenient.
- Picking up your teen when he decides to leave an event at an odd time, especially if the event ends outside hours he should be on the road
- DriveScribe alerts drivers when they commit an action that breaks the law of the road in a specific area.
- Safe Driver monitors location and driving speeds, letting parents know if their teen drivers choose to speed.
- DriveSafe.ly reads text messages aloud, which prevents teen drivers from needing to check their phones and keeps their eyes on the road.
- Texecution locks the phone while the vehicle moves above a certain speed, preventing teen drivers from using their phones while they need to keep their attention on the road.
Did You or Your Teen Driver Suffer Injuries in an Accident?If you have a teen driver who suffered serious injuries in an accident, or if a teen driver injured you or someone you love, get legal help. Your family may have the right to significant compensation. With offices across both Florida coasts, you can easily contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, and Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, or call us at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) to set up your free consultation. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 (727) 451-6900 https://www.dolmanlaw.com/florida-personal-injury-lawyer/