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by Jovita Kravitz
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), auto accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. The statistics are alarming: a teenage child is killed once every hour on average on the weekends, and every two hours during weekdays. Distracted driving (usually texting, talking on the phone, taking selfies, or chatting with friends in the car) accounts for nearly 60% of crashes. A recent study by the AAA showed that a teen driver’s risk of being killed in an auto accident increases by a staggering 44% just by having another teen in the car with them.
Given these shocking accident and death rates, much more can and should be done to protect teen drivers – and their victims. Most important is realizing that teenagers are still children, not adults. A great deal of research on teen brain development has been conducted in recent years, concluding that teen brains are still in the development stage, affecting their judgment and ability to appreciate risks. In her article, “Are Teenage Brains Really Different From Adult Brains?,” Molly Edmonds compares the teenage brain to “an entertainment center that hasn’t been fully hooked up,” which is a disquieting thought for anyone who shares the road with teen drivers on a regular basis.
Despite this now well-known fact, state driving laws have been abysmally slow to catch up. Florida’s current ban on texting while driving for example, is merely a secondary offense, meaning that the driver can only get a citation for texting while driving if caught speeding or violating another law. In 2015, only 1,800 citations were given in the entire State of Florida for texting or using a mobile device while driving.
For additional information on Florida auto accidents involving teens or if you are the victim of a distracted driver, please contact Kravitz Law Group at (813) 626-1234 or (727) 362-1234, or email us at Info@KravitzLawGroup.com. Our main offices are in Brandon and St. Petersburg, Florida, and we are happy to meet with you for a free consultation at one of our other offices throughout the Tampa Bay area.