Although Florida teens (those between the ages of 15 and 19 years old) only make up around five percent of the state’s licensed drivers, crashes with teen drivers account for approximately 11 percent of all crashes in Florida. There were, for instance, almost 40,000 crashes in which teen drivers were involved in 2020 alone. Tragically, those crashes led to 97 Florida teen driver fatalities.
How Common are Fatal Car Accidents for Florida Teens?
Due to their lack of experience, undeveloped driving skills, and youth, teenagers are generally more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents than adults. For instance, in 2019, teen drivers were involved in almost one million accidents in the U.S. Tragically, these crashes led to almost 400,000 serious injuries and 4,000 fatalities. These numbers increased the following year by 14 percent, with an estimated 227,000 injuries and 2,738 teenage fatalities. This breaks down to eight teen deaths every day. This has also proven to be a problem in Florida, where teen drivers were involved in nearly 60,000 crashes during the same year. These collisions resulted in 279 fatalities and 2,200 serious injuries.
What Factors Contribute to Teen Car Accidents?
Teen drivers lack experience and so tend to be more likely to underestimate dangerous situations and are more likely to make critical errors while driving. This lack of experience is especially dangerous in certain locations, like intersections, where the mix of traffic, pedestrians, and traffic signals can be overwhelming. Between 2015 and 2019, this is where more than one-third of all Florida teen fatalities took place.
Many car accidents involving teenagers are the result of risky driving behaviors, with teens being around two and half times more likely to engage in risky behavior when driving with a peer. This likelihood increases to three times when multiple passengers are in the vehicle. Examples of recklessness typical of teenagers include a failure to wear seatbelts, which contributed to more than half of teen fatalities in 2020. Teen drivers are also more likely to speed than adults and tend to leave shorter distances between vehicles. Speeding is thought to have contributed to as many as 53 percent of car accident-related teen fatalities in 2020.
Finally, despite being illegal, many teen motorists drive while under the influence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 30 percent of drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 years old who are killed in car accidents were drinking prior to the accident, while approximately 17 percent had a BAC of .08 percent or more.
When is it Most Dangerous for Teens to Drive?
Car accidents can happen at any time. There are, however, certain times of the year where collisions with teen drivers are particularly common. Known as the “100 Deadliest Days”, this period covers the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when there is a dramatic increase in fatal accidents for teen drivers.
Nighttime driving is riskier for motorists of all ages, but is especially dangerous for teenagers. This is reflected by the fact that the fatal crash rate at night (among teen drivers) is three times higher than that of adult drivers per mile driven. More than 40 percent of car accident deaths among teenage drivers occur between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., while 50 percent happened on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
What are My Recovery Options?
It is not only teenagers who are at risk of being injured in the event of a car crash. Other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists could also suffer the consequences. Regardless of who was responsible for causing a crash, the surviving family members of accident victims who lost their lives in car accidents, could be entitled to compensation for their loved one’s medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. To recover these types of damages, a victim’s relatives may need to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party who caused the accident. If your teen lost his or her life in a car accident, or your loved one sustained fatal injuries in an accident caused by a teen driver, call our office today to learn more about your legal options.
Experienced and compassionate Miami Wrongful Death Lawyers
At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, our dedicated Miami wrongful death lawyers have the experience and resources to help you pursue your legal claim. Give us a call at 305-371-2692 or connect with us online to schedule a free consultation.