Truant Florida Teens Face Driver’s License Suspensions in October

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 their driving independence, in classrooms.

According to the Tampa Tribune, the Florida DHSMV tracks suspensions by quarters, with an often double-digit jump in the numbers Oct. 1-Dec. 31, starting six weeks into the school year. The number of suspensions corresponds closely with population centers: Miami-Dade, which has the biggest public-school district in Florida, was number one for license suspensions in 2013-14 with 671. Seven smaller counties had no suspension orders. Three Tampa Bay counties made the top 10 list for suspensions issued last school year: Pinellas was No. 4 with 406, Hillsborough was No. 8 with 193 and Pasco was No. 10 with 134.

To learn more about Florida driving laws and regulations for teens, check out the online Drug & Alcohol course from GDL Institute. The Drug & Alcohol course is mandatory for all teens prior to obtain their learner’s permit.

Do you think license suspensions for chronically absent teenagers are an effective tool in combatting high school dropout rates? What other tools would you suggest to officials for keeping students active and engaged in the classroom?