Teen Driving Accidents in Florida

Teen-Driving-Accidents-ImageAccording to Florida official crash statistics, there were 48,220 teen drivers involved in collisions in our state in 2021, marking a 23-percent increase from the year before. Across the entire US, teen driver crash rates are nearly four times those of older motorists, reports the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). As these numbers show, teens can be dangerous drivers – and not only to themselves.

If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident involving a teen driver, it is important that you understand your rights under Florida law. Contact Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, to learn more about your legal rights and the options you may have to obtain compensation to cover your economic and non-economic losses. Call our toll-free number or complete our online form. Our consultations are always free.

How Do Teen Car Accidents Happen?

Florida recognizes that teenage drivers present a risk to themselves and others due to their inexperience and tendency to make potentially bad decisions. As such, the state uses a graduated drivers’ license system, requiring a learner’s permit and 50 hours of supervised drive time before a license is granted. Once a license is granted, drivers ages 16 and 17 cannot drive after 11 p.m. or 1 a.m., respectively, unless going to and from work.

Unfortunately, the laws aimed at protecting teen drivers only go so far in preventing teen car accidents.

Causes of teen car accidents include:

  • Inexperience and immaturity – Multiple studies show that teens’ inexperience is a primary factor in their crash risk as they commit driver errors and underestimate road dangers. In addition, the IIHS cites teen immaturity that causes these young drivers to engage in risky road behaviors.
  • Intoxication – According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about a quarter of fatal crashes in 2021 involved an underaged drunk driver. Despite zero-tolerance rules for teens, some of those accidents occurred because a young person drove drunk.
  • Too many passengers – Having multiple passengers in the car with a teen driver can be very dangerous for everyone involved. A study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Center revealed that around 69 percent of teenagers routinely have two or more friends under 21 in their car with them. Unfortunately, teens with passengers in the car are twice as likely to crash.
  • Distraction – All kinds of distractions exist in a car. A young driver may want to look at GPS, change the music in the car, or even take photos or videos. A young driver may also decide to brush their hair, apply cosmetics, eat a snack, or otherwise do something besides focusing on the road. This can be devastating: even just a five-second distraction is tantamount to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed, says the NHTSA.
  • Cell phones/texting – Using a cell phone to talk or text is one of the absolute riskiest things anyone can do behind the wheel. The use of any handheld device makes a driver four times as likely to get into a wreck, while texting and driving makes a driver 23 times as likely to crash. Yet, despite the dangers, a whopping 39 percent of high-school drivers admitted to texting or emailing at the wheel.
  • Night driving and weekend driving – The IIHS cites research revealing that crash risk for teen drivers is four times as high when they drive at night than in the day. The institute’s 2020 analysis showed that teenage crash deaths were most frequent between 9 p.m. and 12 midnight. In addition, half of all teen crash fatalities that year occurred on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
  • Excessive speed – A five-year national study released in 2021 by the Governors Highway Safety Association found that among teen traffic fatalities, 43 percent were speeding-related. By comparison, among drivers aged 20 upwards, only 30 percent of crash fatalities were linked to speeding. This disparity is connected to young drivers’ lack of experience to recognize risky situations and react defensively.

When a young driver talks on his cell phone, speeds, falls asleep or makes a careless error, this young driver is setting himself up for disaster. Unfortunately, passengers and innocent third parties can also become the victim of a bad choice made by a teen driver.

Taking Legal Action against a Teenage Driver

Under the laws in Florida, people involved in car wrecks can take legal action in the case of serious injury by filing a lawsuit or claim against the driver who caused their damages.

It is important to realize that you are not going to be directly collecting money from the teenager in a lawsuit. This is a key factor for many teen car accident victims. Some are hesitant to sue a young person. The insurance company pays for the legal bills and compensates you for your losses when a teen driver causes an accident. Teens have to carry insurance just like everyone else, and their insurance should have to pay out when the behavior of the teen causes harm.

A lawyer from Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, can work to negotiate a settlement for you, or you can go to court and have a jury decide if the teen driver was to blame and how much money you should collect.

The right course of action will depend upon your case and the settlement offer on the table.

A fair settlement can allow you to avoid the hassle and expense of a courtroom battle, but you must ensure you are fully compensated for all your losses, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress.

If the teenager’s actions ended in a death, then the surviving family members of the person killed can file a wrongful death claim.

To learn more about your options, call Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, at our toll-free number or take a moment to fill out our online form. You can schedule a free consultation. We serve victims of automobile crashes throughout South Florida and have offices in Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Okeechobee, Palm Beach Gardens and West Palm Beach.



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