Our newly elected legislators have promised us change and a brighter future for our state’s youth. Making young people’s safety a top priority should be a cornerstone of that promise. Life-saving legislation that protects our youngest and most vulnerable drivers would be a good place to start.
Crash statistics involving teen drivers are sobering. Crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, who are three times as likely to crash as more experienced drivers are. In 2010, 356 Floridians died in crashes involving teen drivers. Using cell phones while driving, driving or riding with their peers or driving late at night all significantly increase teen drivers’ already-high crash risk. Laws prohibiting these practices will help reduce that risk and make our roadways safer for everyone.
As the leader of the Florida Teen Safe Driving Coalition, an initiative of the National Safety Council and The Allstate Foundation, I implore lawmakers to become strong advocates for teen driving safety. The first year of licensure is the most dangerous year for new drivers, and strong driving laws are proven to reduce crashes. Let’s make the next few years the safest for Florida teen drivers.
Danielle Branciforte, leader, Florida Teen Safe Driving Coalition, Tallahassee