Everyone hopefully knows by now that texting while driving is a distraction. Do you also know that teen passengers in a teen driver’s vehicle can be a distraction? This is why most states have restricted the number of passengers teen drivers can have in their cars. While Florida does not have a law like this in place, our state does have a graduated licensing system that has helped reduce the number of teen fatalities.
The number of teen drivers and passengers killed in Florida car crashes increased five percent from 2010 to 2011. Because of this, the safety of teen drivers and passengers is still of great concern. While there are nighttime restrictions in place for teens, the Sunshine State is one of the last few states that does not have passenger restrictions for teen drivers. In fact, two different bills regarding passenger restrictions in Florida have failed to pass.
The problem is serious, as teen passengers present a huge distraction to novice drivers, which can result in serious injuries or fatalities for teen drivers and passengers. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 59 percent of teen passenger deaths in 2011 took place in vehicles driven by other teens. Even just one teen passenger increases a teen driver’s crash risk by 48 percent. Three or more passengers heighten the risk by 307 percent, according to the National Safety Council.
With summer here and teens running around and traveling more with their friends, parents of teenagers should discuss the distractions passengers can create simply by being teens. Additionally, parents should restrict the number of passengers their teen can carry until Florida passes such a law.
Have you or your teen been injured as a result of a negligent or distracted driver? Call the Sarasota personal injury attorneys at the Mallard Law Firm today at 888-409-3805 for a free consultation.