An experienced Florida car accident lawyer reveals the reasons why
While car accidents can happen any time of the year in Florida, car wrecks caused by distracted teenage drivers in the summer are an especially serious problem.
Many different factors contribute to this crisis on the road. That’s why it’s important for parents to educate teens about the dangers of distracted driving and for all drivers to practice safe driving habits on our roads and highways.
How common are car accidents caused by teen drivers?
Accidents involving teenage drivers remain a serious problem nationwide and in Florida. Among teenagers 16 to 19 years old, car accidents are the number one cause of death, according to AAA. And among all teenagers 13 to 19 years old, motor vehicle accidents are the second leading cause of death nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Each year, more than 2,400 teenagers are killed and another 258,000 injured in car accidents.
In Florida, teen driver accidents are just as bad. Drivers 15 to 17 years old cause an average of 16,200 accidents every year in Florida, resulting in 25 fatalities, 242 serious injuries, and 3,500 other injuries on average each year, according to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). Among drivers 18 to 20 years old in Florida, those figures are even higher—nearly 47,000 accidents each year, resulting in 101 fatalities, 796 serious injuries, and 11,068 other injuries on average each year.
Why is distracted driving a problem among teens?
Distracted driving is a serious problem among all age groups in Florida. Each year, distracted drivers caused more than 48,000 accidents, 2,700 injuries, and 300 fatalities annually on average in Florida, according to the FLHSMV. Last year in particular was the worst year in recent memory for distracted driver fatalities in Florida. A total of 308 people died in motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers in 2020, even though there were fewer drivers on the road last year due to the pandemic.
While all age groups are at risk, distracted driving remains an especially serious problem among teen drivers. Driver distraction can be more dangerous among young drivers due to their inexperience, the CDC reported. In addition, a 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that 39 percent of high school drivers texted or emailed while driving within the past 30 days.
Cellphones are a big reason why teenagers are distracted behind the wheel, but it’s not the only reason why. The most common distraction is other teenagers in the vehicle. The likelihood of an accident caused by a teen driver doubles if there is another teenager in the vehicle. If there are two or more teenager passengers in a vehicle, the likelihood of a teenager driver causing a crash triples, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute.
How dangerous is summer for teen drivers?
Accident statistics have consistently found that the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is among the most dangerous time on the road for teen drivers. AAA refers to this time of year as the "100 Deadliest Days of Summer” since 30 percent of deaths involving teen drivers occur during the summer months. Nationwide, more than seven people each day are killed in motor vehicle accidents involving teen drivers during the summer months, AAA reported.
"For every mile driven, new teen drivers (ages 16-17 years old) are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash compared to adults," AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said in an interview with FOX13.
So why are summer months so dangerous for teenage drivers? Accident experts believe it’s because:
- There are more teenagers on the road
- They’re still inexperienced
- Often, they're driving with fellow teenagers who are also on summer break from high school or college
What are other causes of teen driving accidents?
Distracted driving remains one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents involving teen drivers. It isn't the only reason why accidents happen. According to the CDC, other common causes include:
- Inexperienced drivers
- Speeding (teen drivers are more likely to drive fast than older drivers)
- Drunk driving (24 percent of teen drivers who cause fatal accidents were intoxicated)
- Difficulty driving at night (40 percent of motor vehicle deaths among teens occur at night)
Another risk factor that results in so many injuries and fatalities involving teen drivers is the small number of teens who wear seatbelts. Compared to all other age groups, teens have the lowest seatbelt usage rate of any age group, the CDC reported.
How can a car accident lawyer help?
You might think you don’t need a lawyer if a distracted teenager causes your car accident. Unfortunately, even the most straightforward accidents often turn out to be complex legal cases. The teenager who caused your crash might deny doing anything wrong. They might try to blame you for causing the crash. Or they might refuse to have their cellphone data turned over after your crash. Worst of all, their insurance company might take their side and defend their actions. That’s because your accident claim could be worth thousands of dollars or significantly more.
We understand what’s at stake at the Law Offices of Scott M. Miller in the greater Orlando area. That’s because attorney Miller has years of experience handling complicated legal cases in central Florida. As a result, we understand the state and federal laws that often apply to such accidents. We know what evidence to look for after a crash and what questions to ask. We then use the evidence we find to build the strongest possible case and demand the maximum financial compensation.