According to a recent press release published by the AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety (“Foundation”), an increasing number of American teenagers are delaying getting a driver’s license until their eighteenth birthday. The report estimates that half of teens obtain their license within twelve months of their respective state’s minimum age and only fifty-four percent become licensed before their eighteenth birthday. These numbers are in stark contract to twenty years ago when more than two-thirds of teens were licensed by their eighteenth birthday.
According to some safety experts, the delay in licensing is cause for concern as these teen drivers do not have to complete graduated drivers licensing (“GDL”) programs. GDL programs are designed to gradually introduce teens to driving by phasing in different driving privileges over time, such as:
Minimum age of sixteen to obtain a learner’s permit.
Restrictions on conditions under which teens can drive at night.
Restrictions on when and how many passengers a teen can have in a vehicle.
Restrictions prohibiting teens from talking on cellphones while driving.
Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the Foundation, voiced concern that, with so many teens waiting to get their license, “a segment of this generation [is] missing opportunities to learn under the safeguards that GDL provides. For most, it’s about not having a car or having alternatives for getting around that are the top reasons cited for delaying what has traditionally been considered to be a rite of passage.”
Indeed, according to a survey conducted by the Foundation found that teens were not waiting to get licenses to avoid graduated driver licensing. According to the survey, the following were the top reasons teens were waiting to get a driver’s license:
44%– Not having a vehicle.
39%– Able to get around without driving.
36%– Cost of gas too high.
36%– Overall costs of driving.
35%– “Just didn’t get around to it.”
According to another report by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (“AHAS”), discussed earlier this year, GDL programs are one of basic traffic safety laws that the AHAS maintains have the potential to save thousands of lives and billions of dollars each year. That report concluded that Florida suffered 2,398 traffic fatalities in 2011 and suffered an average annual economic cost due to motor vehicle accidents of $14.4 billion, due, in some part, to its lack of a strong GDL program.
If the Foundations report is correct, the decision of many teens to delay licensing, and forgo the benefits of GDL programs, is contributing to an increase in unsafe drivers on Florida’s roadways. If you or someone you know has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may need legal representation to protect your right to compensation. It is imperative that it your claim be evaluated by an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident to preserve your right to compensation.
The attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured by negligent drivers. If you or someone you know has been injured in automobile accident, contact the attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. today.