This week, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) is recognizing National Teen Driver Safety Week in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and public safety partners across Florida. The campaign, which runs October 16-22, aims to educate teens and their caregivers on safe driving practices and remind them of the risks and responsibilities associated with driving.
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for teens across the United States. Florida teens (ages 15-19) represent nearly 5% of Florida’s driving population; however, more than 11% of all motor vehicle crashes in Florida involved a teen driver in 2021.
“Becoming a licensed driver is an exciting time for many teens, bringing new independence and opportunity – and most importantly, a solemn responsibility. A solemn responsibility to drive with care, courtesy, and confidence every time you get behind the wheel,” said FLHSMV Executive Director, Terry L. Rhodes. “Being a safe driver is a lifelong devotion, and Teen Driver Safety Week in Florida serves as a great opportunity to encourage everyone to help reduce injuries and tragic loss of life by being focused on safe, attentive driving.”
Nearly half of the total crashes across Florida involving a teen driver in 2021 involved at least one passenger in a vehicle. According to NHTSA, research shows the risk of a fatal crash dramatically increases in direct relation to the number of passengers in a vehicle. The likelihood that a teen driver will engage in risky behavior triples when multiple passengers are in the same vehicle. Parents can help teen drivers by discussing risky driving behaviors and setting firm rules for driving.
“National Teen Driver Safety Week is a great reminder to parents and caregivers to continue to mentor their young drivers on safe driving habits,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Parents can greatly reduce the dangers associated with speeding, impaired driving, distracted driving, and not wearing a seatbelt by helping to stop those behaviors before they start.”
FLHSMV is joined by its campaign partners this week to drive home the message of teen-driver safety:
“Practicing safe driving habits and understanding the rules of the road is important for drivers of all ages,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared W. Perdue, P.E. “For teens, driving safely and avoiding distractions while behind the wheel is even more critical to ensure everyone on the road makes it home safe. This week, and every week, FDOT encourages parents to set an example as safe driving role models and talk with their teens about avoiding risky driving behaviors that can ultimately lead to fatal consequences.”
“The Florida Police Chiefs Association stands with our partners in public safety to recognize National Teen Driver Safety Week,” said Fellsmere Police Department Chief Keith Touchberry, President of the Florida Chiefs Association. “Parents and caregivers should use this week and talk to their teens about safe driving habits and the privilege of having a license and remember to set a good example for teens by modeling those same good habits.”
“One goal of the Florida Sheriffs Association is to promote programs and services focused on youth, and the Teen Driver Safety program leads the way. Through the program, many sheriffs teach safe driving practices. On behalf of our sheriffs, I fully support the efforts of National Teen Driver Safety Week being promoted by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles,” said Sheriff Al Nienhuis, President, Florida Sheriffs Association.
For tips on how to talk to teens about driving safety and other campaign resources, please visit FLHSMV’s teen driver webpage.