October 16-22 is National Teen Driver Safety Week – 5 to Drive Campaign

passengersParents, teens, and teachers: October 16-22, 2016 is National Teen Driver Safety Week, and it offers a chance to to raise awareness of teen driver safety and encourage safe teen driver and passenger behavior. Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for U.S. teens 15 to 19 years old. Promoting safe driving habits during this time period can help spread awareness of this alarming statistic and make a difference in teen driving habits.

GDL Institute is supporting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s “5 to Drive” campaign during National Teen Driver Safety Week. The campaign aims to help parents talk to their teen drivers about the rules of the road. The campaign highlights the five necessary rules that teen drivers need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel. These rules address the greatest dangers for teen drivers: alcohol, texting, seat belts, speeding, and extra passengers.

The “5 to Drive” campaign addresses the five most dangerous and deadly behaviors for teen drivers. It is a great way to help parents prepare, and help protect teen drivers. The idea behind the campaign is to give parents the words to use when they talk with their teens about the rules of the road. Let’s get the conversation going!

The NHTSA’s “5 to Drive” rules for parents to share with their teens are:

  1. No Drinking and Driving – All teens are too young to legally buy or possess alcohol, but they are still at risk. Nationally in 2014, one out of five teen passenger vehicle drivers (15 to 19 years old) involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. Driving under the influence of any impairing substance could have deadly consequences.
  2. Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back. – Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest ways to stay safe in a car. Yet, too many teens are not buckling up and neither are their passengers. In 2014, there were 763 passengers killed in passenger vehicles driven by teen drivers, and 59% of those passengers who died were NOT buckled up at the time of the fatal crash.
  3. Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel. All the Time. – Distractions while driving can be deadly. In 2014, among teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes, 10% were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. And remember, distracted driving isn’t limited to cell phone use. Other passengers, the radio and climate controls, and eating or drinking while driving, are all examples of dangerous distractions for teen drivers.
  4. Stop Speeding Before It Stops You – In 2014, almost one-third (30%) of teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in a fatal crash were speeding at the time of the crash. Staying within the speed limit helps keep everyone safe.
  5. No More Than One Passenger at a Time. – The risk of a fatal crash goes up with each additional passenger. According to data analyzed by NHTSA, teen drivers were two-and-a-half times more likely to engage in one or more potentially risky behaviors when driving with one teenage peer compared to when driving alone. And the likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behaviors triples when traveling with multiple passengers.

Reach out to the teen driver in your life and remind them that while driving is a privilege, and while driving independence can great, it also comes with great responsibility. For more information about National Teen Driver Safety Week and the “5 to Drive” campaign, please visit www.safercar.gov/parents.

Truant Florida Teens Face Driver’s License Suspensions in October

It’s October! School is back in session and it’s a great time to remind Florida teens that if you cut class, you may lose your driving privileges. Read on to learn more about Florida’s driving rules and regulations for teens.

GDL Institute Blog

Teen TruancyFor some Florida teens, October marks the beginning of the end, in terms of their driving privileges. It’s the time of year when the state starts yanking driving privileges for teens that have been cutting too much class.

For almost 20 years now, the law stipulates that Florida teens under the age of 18 cannot miss more than 15 days of school with unexcused absences within a 90 day period or their learners permit or driver’s license will be suspended (hardship waivers are allowed in rare circumstances, such as for health or family crises). A teen’s license will remain suspended until the student provides proof of school attendance for 30 consecutive days. The law aimed at keeping kids in class and decreasing dropout rates is just one way that school officials are working to combat truancy. And, it’s certainly a useful tool in keeping teens, who don’t want to forfeit…

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Practice Makes Perfect: Driving at Night

Night drivingTeens have returned to school, and Fall is right around the corner. As the days get shorter, it’s a great opportunity for new drivers to reflect on the dangers and challenges of driving at night, and practice their defensive driving techniques after dusk.

Night time driving accounts for about 25% of all driving, and there is usually significantly less traffic during these hours, but approximately 55% of all driving fatalities occur after dark. Night driving presents additional challenges due to reduced visibility, driver fatigue, and even a higher number of intoxicated drivers on the road:

  • Traffic death rates are three times greater at night than during the day.
  • The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes was four times higher at night than during the day (NHTSA).
  • Nearly 3 out of 4 pedestrian deaths occur during the nighttime (70%), and many involve alcohol (NHTSA).

Florida officials recognize that new drivers need to practice night driving after mastering defensive driving basics. In Florida, if you hold a Learner’s License, you may only drive during daylight hours during the first three months, and until 10 p.m. thereafter, always with a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old and occupies the front passenger seat. To earn your Intermediate License (operator’s license) at 16 years old, a parent or guardian must certify that you have at least 50 hours of behind the wheel driving experience, of which 10 hours must be at night. For more information on graduated driver licensing requirements in Florida, visit the Florida DHSMV website.

Now that you understand the risks, here are some safety tips for driving at night:

  • Make sure all of the lights on your car are visible and working. Check to make sure that lights are working properly; make sure they aren’t caked with mud, snow or other debris that can make you less visible to other drivers on the road.
  • Reduce your speed and following distance, just as you would in bad weather. It can be more difficult to judge distance or other vehicle speeds at night.
  • If you are drowsy, do NOT drive at night. A drowsy driver may have slower reaction times, and falling asleep at the wheel can be deadly.

For even more tips on night driving, review these safety tips from Popular Mechanics. What other tips would you give new drivers for safe night driving?


Teen Drivers: How to Handle a Traffic Accident

GDL Institute Blog

Teen_Driver_AccidentTeen drivers are more likely than experienced drivers to be involved in a motor vehicle collision. In fact, per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash (CDC). It’s no wonder that parents are concerned about their kids driving safely. The driving techniques you learned in your TLSAE course will prepare you to drive safely and defensively. But, a traffic accident is just that, an accident. When you obtain your driver’s license, talk with your parents about driving expectations, and what you should do in the event of an accident. They will be able to offer your advice and guidance, and may even have you sign a Parent/Teen Driving Contract.

If you find yourself involved in a minor collision, it can be scary, but you may find the following tips…

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