The general consensus is that teens are more likely to be involved in car accidents than adults, and the statistics support this theory. Data gathered by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for motorists from 16 to 19 years old, at around six teens per day. Plus, almost 300,000 younger drivers are treated in emergency rooms for auto accident injuries every year.
However, teens are not the only individuals at risk when they are behind the wheel. Everyone sharing the roadway with them could be impacted, including other motorists, bicycle riders, and pedestrians. If you were hurt in a teen driver crash, Florida law does provide you with legal options. A Miami car accidents attorney can explain them in more detail, but you might find it useful to review some of the top cases of teen auto collisions.
Common Causes of Teen Crashes
There are multiple factors that can lead to crashes during the first few years after a younger motorist gets his or her license. Many people assume that teens just tend to be more reckless, but inexperience is a primary issue. Drivers who do not appreciate the risks and have not spent as much time behind the wheel often cause accidents by:
- Talking or texting on the phone;
- Interacting with other passengers – especially teenagers;
- Drunk or drugged driving;
- Improper lane changes; and,
- Many other negligent acts.
Florida Laws for Teen Drivers
In an effort to reduce the impact of inexperience among teenagers, Florida laws take a staged approach to issuing driver’s licenses to young motorists. Generally, the individual would have strictly limited privileges initially, then would move up to the point of a full, adult driver’s license. The stages work as follows:
- Learner’s License: Also called a permit phase, a teen can obtain this license upon turning 15 years old with parental consent. All learners must take a driver’s education class and pass a written driving examination. During this phase, a teen must practice safe driving for at least 50 hours over a nine-month period. Plus, he or she cannot be charged with any traffic violations to move up to the next stage.
- Operator’s License: After successful completion of the learner’s phase, a teen can get an initial operator’s license at age 16. Parental consent is necessary, and that person must certify that the teen successfully completed the number of practice hours. For phases #1 and #2, there are also restrictions on the hours the teen can operate a car and how many people can be in the vehicle.
- Full License Driver: Upon reaching 18 years old, presuming there were no traffic violations during the first phases, the individual qualifies for a full license.
Contact a Miami Car Accidents Lawyer with Questions
At Gerson & Schwartz, PA, our attorneys are prepared to advocate on your behalf if you were injured in any type of auto collision, including crashes involving teen drivers. Please contact our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL today to set up a free consultation regarding your rights. We can tell you more about your legal options after reviewing the details of your case.