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-- Resolution to Bring Attention to Safe Teen Driving --

Ann Nucatola
(850) 617-3102


Tallahassee - Today Attorney General Bill McCollum and the Florida Cabinet declared by resolution the third week in October as Florida Teen Driver Safety Week.

Traffic crashes are the number one killer of teens, both here in Florida and nationally. Florida has more than 800,000 teen drivers. Last year, 37,000 teenage drivers were involved in crashes. More than 400 people were killed in a traffic crash while a teenager was behind the wheel. Sadly, there were 1,090 teen drivers who were drinking in crashes resulting in 61 deaths.

"Behind every one of these statistics is a devastated family and the tragedy of a young person who will never have the chance to reach his or her own unique potential," said Attorney General Bill McCollum. "We as a society must do everything in our power to educate our teenagers about the responsibilities that go with the privilege of having a driver's license."

Specific behaviors are associated with the cause of the high fatality rate of teen drivers. Inexperience and immaturity combined with speed, alcohol-related driving, not wearing safety belts, distracted driving (cell phone use, loud music, other teen passengers, etc.), drowsy driving, and nighttime driving. This week is aimed at changing our teen’s behaviors and driving habits, by communicating with them and by example. Teens need to be aware of the dangers of driving, and how to limit the risks of being involved in a crash.

"Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of teen fatalities in this country," said Executive Director Electra Bustle. "Teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers nationwide. But we can change that. We encourage parents and guardians to take an active role in educating their young drivers on the rules of the road, and provide them the guidance necessary to succeed in driving safely on Florida roads."

Teen Driver Safety Week will concentrate on efforts and educational campaigns aimed not just at teen drivers, but their parents and guardians as well. One way to reach both parents and teens: Use the Florida Drivers Guide for Teens and Parents. The guide is an important tool for parents who want to reach out to their teen and encourage safe driving skills, while monitoring their driving habits.

"It’s very important for parents to take an active role when it comes to teaching their teenager how to drive. Spending time behind the wheel with them will ensure sound lifelong driving habits. After all, your child will learn much more from your driving skills and behavior than they will from others," said Florida Highway Patrol Interim Director, Lt. Colonel John Czernis.

Go on-line to www.flhsmv.gov and download The Drivers Guide For Teens and Parents. Also available online at https://services.flhsmv.gov/DLCheck/, parents can review their minor child's driving record for free.

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