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Car accidents in Florida and throughout this nation are the leading cause of teenage deaths. For the parents of Antonio Rodriguez, the statistics of teen traffic-related deaths are all too familiar, as their son was one of the 3,000 teenagers to lose his life in 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In a news article, we read about the Pembroke Pines crash that claimed the life of Antonio Rodriguez and paralyzed a teen passenger in the same car, all because another teen driver was going too fast and lost control of his car. Unfortunately, teen drivers are more likely to get into auto accidents in South Florida and nationwide if other teenagers are their passengers, according to studies cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Although driving is a rite of passage for teenagers, it is also the number one killer of this age group. Because of this, parents need to monitor their teen drivers carefully. It’s not enough anymore to just pass a driver’s license test. Research shows that, during the first few months of driving, teens are likely to make mistakes and wreck in the following situations:
- Driving at too high of a speed for weather and road conditions
- Making left-hand turns
- Failing to yield
In fact, a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals that teen drivers are 50 percent more likely to wreck in their first month of driving solo than they are after one year of experience.
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So, what can parents do?
It is important during the first year of driving that parents talk about careful driving habits and draft a parent-teen driving agreement outlining the rules and consequences. For instance, in the early months of your teen’s driving, you may only give them permission to drive back and forth to school. Then, after they have successfully shown they are responsible drivers, you may allow them to go places after school. For more information about teen driver safety visit our teen safe driving resources center for parents.
Although Florida does not have teenager passenger restriction laws, parents need to implement restrictions prohibiting their children to drive with other teens or letting other teens ride with them. Even the presence of one other teen passenger can affect a beginning driver by causing distractions and increasing their chances of a South Florida crash.
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