As young drivers head back to school, a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association explores the problem of teen distracted driving, and outlines educational and enforcement policies across the U.S. designed to address it. Not only are motor vehicle crashes the leading cause of death for 15 to 20 year olds in the U.S., teens are over represented in the overall number of crashes across all age groups. In Florida for example, teens make up only 5% of the driving population, but they are involved in about 9% of the fatal crashes (FDHSMV).
Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous habits a driver of any age can engage in. Unfortunately, inexperienced teen drivers are at even higher risk when their attention is divided. Texting or talking on cell phones while driving is one of the riskiest forms of distracted driving. Teen drivers, however, are distracted by more than just electronic devices. As outlined in the new report, eating, grooming, adjusting the radio and even daydreaming are drawing their attention away from the road.
Some other facts and figures from the report include:
- Americans DO recognize the dangers of driving distracted. In fact, 96.1% of drivers feel threatened by others who talk on cell phones when behind the wheel.
- New research suggests that peer passengers may pose a greater threat of a teen driver being involved in a serious incident than electronic devices. Just one teen passenger increases a teen driver’s crash risk by 50%.
So what’s being done to keep teens from driving distracted? Efforts are underway across the country to educate teens properly about defensive driving, and the enforce laws aimed at reducing the number of distracted drivers on the road.
- When it comes to passenger restrictions, 47 states and DC have provisions in their GDL laws, 13 of which are secondary enforcement.
- 44 states and DC have an all-driver text messaging ban. Of those bans, 39 are primary offenses and five are treated as secondary offenses (including Florida).
For more information on what individual states are doing to fight distracted driving, refer to the complete GHSA report, titled “Distracted & Dangerous, Helping States Keep Teens Focused on the Road.”
If you are a new driver, take care on the road ways and drive defensively. Put the tips you learned in your Drug and Alcohol course from GDL Institute to good use. If you haven’t yet taken the course, register today and get on the road to driving independence (and a lifetime of safe driving habits!)
The process is simple! Check out our new infographic, which shows exactly how easy it is to obtain your driver learner’s permit in Florida, with the required online Drug and Alcohol course. Questions or comments? Let us know in the comments section below.
On April 8, 2014, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and Ford announced the launch of The Parent’s Supervised Driving Program to assist parents and teens during with their driver training journey. During the learner’s permit phase of the graduated driver license process in Florida, parents or guardians must spend 50 hours, 10 at night, supervising their teen driver. The helpful program includes a free guide to keep a log of those hours, in addition to driving tips for parents and teens to put into practice.
This program will be offered as an added learning tool in addition to the traditional driver training process, including the Drug & Alcohol course. Teens must complete the online Drug & Alcohol course and learner’s permit exam, both available from GDL Institute, prior to obtaining their learner’s permit.
To learn more about the Parent’s Supervised Driving Program and obtain a copy of the guide, visit their website.
What is the most important lesson you learned from your parent or guardian when you were learning how to drive?
Years ago, most teenagers were counting down the days until their 16th birthdays, when they could celebrate with their very first driver’s license. However, a new trend is emerging in Florida and across the U.S. A growing number of teens are waiting, sometimes years after becoming eligible, to get their driver’s licenses. Statewide over the last 20 years, the total number of teenage drivers in Florida has fallen by nearly 15%.
As David Damron of the Orlando Sentinel reports in his article “Many Florida teens put the brakes on getting drivers licenses,” the number of licensed drivers in Central Florida ages 15 to 17 fell from 44,182 in 1995 to 38,749 in 2013. This happened at the same time that the overall population actually grew.
A study last year by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 44% of teens got a driver’s license within a year of turning the legal age, down from about two-thirds of teens who got one within a year, just two decades ago. A similar study conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute shows that in1983, 80% of 18-year-olds had a driver’s license. That had dropped to 65 % by 2005 and to 61% in 2010.
The question is: what is driving the trend? Experts suggest that a variety of factors could be influencing these numbers; everything from the economic downturn and increased regulations and driver’s education requirements, to shifting priorities among the younger crowd and new ways of connecting with friends online and socially, instead of driving to hangouts.
Teens – Are you planning to get your driver’s license as soon as possible? Parents – Are you encouraging your teens to obtain their licenses right away, or advising them to wait?