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Teenage Drivers: The Do's and Don'ts

It's a rite of passage when a teenager turns 16 they get their learner's permit in the state of Florida. However, there are important things to remember if you are a parent with a teenage driver.

The statistics are grim when it comes to teenagers and motor vehicles. Car accidents are the leading cause of death of teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19. Every day, seven teenagers die in a motor vehicle accident. The crash rate of teenage drivers is four times that of an older driver, and a teenage drivers' risk of a crash increases 44 percent with one teenage passenger, and quadruples with three or more.

Many states have implemented laws to curtail car accidents involving teenagers. This past summer New Jersey lawmakers are requiring teenage drivers to place a red decal on their license plates, making it easier for police to enforce curfew. Pennsylvania also passed a one-teenage passenger restriction on teen drivers.

The push to restrict teenage drivers dates to the mid-1990s, when states, starting with Florida, began passing laws providing for graduated driver's licenses, which require periods of supervision and probationary driving before teenagers can get a full license. Now, all states have graduated driver's licenses.

So, here are some tips for parents of teenage drivers.

•· Encourage teenagers to always wear their seat belts. Also, lead by example and always buckle up when you drive. Teenagers have the lowest seat belt use rate.

•· Limit the amount of passengers in the car with your teenager.

•· Do not let your child use a cell phone while driving. Texting should also not be permitted.

•· Have a curfew. More than 40% of teen deaths occur between 9p.m. and 6 a.m.

•· Parents should let their teenagers drive the new family car, not the old because it has better crash protection

•· Make sure your child is responsible and mature enough before allowing them to get a license. Studies have found that teenage boys are more likely to speed, drive recklessly and drive under the influence compared to teenage girls.

Remember, in Florida to get a driver's license you must pass a written and performance test, as well as a vision and hearing test. At the age of 16, teenagers receive a learner's license which they must have for one year without any traffic violations before getting an operator's license. Curfews are also in place for teenagers with a learner's licenses.

For more information, please contact us.

Source: The New York Times, "Youth Driving Laws Limit Even the Double Date," Aug. 13, 2012.

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