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Why Teenagers are Dangerous Behind the Wheel? - Jones Law Group

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Behind the Wheel

Why Teenagers are Dangerous Behind the Wheel?

By: Heath C. Murphy +Personal Injury

A child’s 16th birthday comes with freedom and danger. In most states, including Florida, it marks when the date upon which a teenager is eligible to obtain a driver’s license. It marks when they begin driving by themselves. The privileged children may even be given a car for their 16th birthday. With this added freedom comes responsibility and danger. Parents of young inexperienced drivers must be aware the most dangerous situations in which young drivers find themselves.

Nighttime Driving

Teenaged drivers are especially susceptible to the dangers of nighttime driving. The fatal crash rate of teenagers is almost 4 times higher at night than during the day.[1] This is likely due to the inexperience of the driver. Most teens do not have much experience behind the wheel at night. Driver’s education classes are typically given during the day. Parents are much more likely to let their permitted drivers practice when conditions are optimal.

Parents need to train their young drivers how to drive in less than optimal conditions. It is important to learn to drive at night and in the rain. Although adults have been programmed for years and nighttime driving is second nature, it is important to remember that driving at night can change the driver’s depth perception. These differences must be accounted for by the driver. The only way to improve a teen’s nighttime driving proficiency is time behind the wheel driving at night. However, parents should strongly consider limiting their teen’s nighttime driving that occurs without an experienced driver in the vehicle.

Driving with Other Teenagers in the Vehicle

Many states have graduated teen drivers’ license requirements. By that I mean that a teen may first get a permit, then a license with specific limitations and finally a full blown license. These graduated license requirements can place restrictions on the hours which a teen may operate a vehicle. They may require certified training hours behind the wheel. However, it is apparent that the most effective requirement in reducing teen accidents and fatalities is to limit the number of teenaged passengers that may be in the car while a teen is driving.

Teens are easily distracted. A young inexperienced driver and a car full of teenagers is a recipe for disaster. Florida places no restriction on the number of passengers which may be in the car when an inexperienced driver is behind the wheel. There is a calculator which estimates the effect of various aspects of a graduated license[2] and it seems to strongly indicate that limiting the number of passengers for the first year of licensure would have the greatest effect on teen accidents and fatalities. For this reason, I would highly recommend that all parents place restrictions on your teenaged driver and the number of passengers which you permit in the vehicle while the teen is driving.

Talking/Texting While Driving

Teens are 16 times more likely to get in a car accident when using a handheld device as compared to more experienced drivers. Talking or texting are distractions that greatly increase the risk of an accident. Talking or texting on a phone will increase the reaction time of the driver because it can take your eyes off the road for up to FIVE SECONDS. During the time driver’s eyes off the road the vehicle will have travelled more than a football field. It is critical that teen drivers be taught not to text/talk and drive. Setting a good example is extremely critical in this regard. If your children see you using a cell phone while driving they will do the same.

Seat Belt Usage

Florida has a seat belt law, but the younger drivers seem to ignore this law more than more experienced drivers. Most young drivers killed in car accidents are not wearing their seatbelts. This is simply a matter of education and repetition. Children must be taught from a young age that seatbelts are mandatory. Almost every study on the subject indicates that seatbelt use significantly reduces injuries and fatalities expected in auto accidents.

Contact Jones Law Group

Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident caused by a teenaged driver? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer at Jones Law Group today. When you contact our office we will immediately set an appointment where you will meet your attorney and be provided with his/her personal contact information. If you do not have transportation or you cannot drive, your attorney will travel to meet you and discuss your case with you. We understand traumatic brain injuries and the issues that they can cause in your daily life and our law firm will always work to make sure you are compensated fairly.

Whether you were a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or the occupant of car, motorcycle or boat and have been injured in an accident, you should immediately call an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg at Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.

Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707



[1] http://www.iihs.org/iihs/brochures/beginning-teen-drivers

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19061378

Heath Murphy

About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio