Driving is both a privilege and a great responsibility. Every day, people get behind the wheel of a car, and yet many drivers lack the experience to know how to operate their vehicles safely.
Over one weekend in Escambia County, Florida, there were two crashes involving teen drivers. According to NorthEscambia.com, the Florida Highway Patrol is investigating an accident involving one car being driven by a 17-year-old girl. Escambia Fire Rescue and Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene of the motor vehicle accident. The car collided with a pine tree in a wooded area after leaving the roadway near North Highway 99. The driver of the vehicle was injured in the accident.
Just days later, as also reported by NorthEscambia.com, another single-vehicle motor accident took place in Escambia County. The accident took place around 12:30 a.m., after the vehicle struck a tree near route 95A. Following the collision, the driver allegedly dropped off an injured passenger in the parking lot of a nearby convenience store, and then fled the scene. Escambia County Emergency Medical Services brought the injured person in as a “trauma alert.” The Florida Highway Patrol continues their investigation.
Teen Driver Fatality Data Reports Annual Increase In Florida
The Governor’s Highway Safety Association published a report of preliminary data pertaining to teenage driver fatalities, nationwide. When comparing the first six months of 2011 to 2010, teenage driver fatalities increased by 11 percent, from 190 to 211. Nine of the reported deaths in 2010 were in Florida, and 15 were in Florida in 2011. Interestingly, the high number of fatal accidents involving teen drivers is incongruent with the policies and programs put in place by the state of Florida.
Florida was the first state to implement a graduated driver licensing program, which was put in place in 1996. According to the report by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, graduated driver licensing programs are put in place to assist young drivers in gaining driving experience in a way that keeps them out of higher-risk situations until they have more driving experience. Usually, there is a longer “learner” period which allows supervised driving practice, and then an intermediate period with restrictions on higher risk driving, such as night driving and driving with passengers, and, finally, full driving privileges.
The report further indicates that among the factors adding to the increased risk of teen driving accidents include lack of seat belt use, drug- and alcohol-impaired driving, distracted driving, technology use while at the wheel and distractions caused by passengers present in the vehicle.