FLHSMV Encourages Parents, Caregivers of Teens to Drive Home the Message of Safety
~ FLHSMV recognizes October 18-24, 2020, as National Teen Driver Safety Week. ~
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) recognizes Oct. 18-24 as National Teen Driver Safety Week in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). During this week, FLHSMV is urging parents and caregivers to begin – and continue – discussing the importance of safe-driving practices with their young drivers.
“A teen’s biggest influence sits across from them at the dinner table and with them in the car every day,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Parents and caregivers play a key role in their teen driver’s success behind the wheel. Having tough conversations with your teen can be challenging, but some of the most difficult conversations are often the most important. I urge all caregivers to make an effort in regularly discussing driving risks with their teens to ensure we all Arrive Alive.”
Florida teens, ages 15-19, make up almost 5% of Florida’s licensed drivers. In 2019, there were a total of 85,197 crashes involving teen drivers in Florida, resulting in 719 serious bodily injuries in teens and 86 teen-driver fatalities.
“FHP encourages parents to express the importance of safe driving habits before teen drivers get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Becoming a new driver is an exciting time for a teen, however, parents must eliminate distractions like texting while driving and encourage their teens to focus on driving.”
To further driver-safety education efforts, FLHSMV recently launched the department’s first podcast – 3PointTurn – a driver-safety podcast designed to supplement the Florida Driver Handbook. The series contains 12 episodes featuring members of the Florida Highway Patrol discussing topics ranging from personal responsibility to strange situations one might encounter on Florida roadways.
With this podcast, FLHSMV is hopeful that it will jump-start the conversation between parents and their young drivers on the importance of safe driving behaviors and also serve as a tool to prepare any type of driver for situations they will likely face during their lifetime.
FLHSMV is joined by its campaign partners this week to drive home the message of teen-driver safety:
“As safety is FDOT’s top priority, we encourage all motorists to practice good habits anytime they get behind the wheel and especially lead by example for teen drivers who are learning the rules of the road,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. “No matter if you’re driving down the street or across the state, stay focused on the road by putting all devices down – every trip, every time.”
Chief Jeff Pearson, President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association and Chief of the Satellite Beach Police Department said, “Talking to your teens about the importance of safe driving habits is a discussion that we all must have with our kids. Parents and Caregivers should talk to their teens about safe cell phone use while in the car. Encourage them to stow their phones while driving, designate a texter, or to pull over before answering phone calls or responding to text messages. One of the worst duties of a law enforcement is having to inform a parent that their child has been involved in an accident, or worse that they have died in an accident.”
Sheriff Bobby Schultz, President of the Florida Sheriffs Association said, “One of the major goals of the Florida Sheriffs Association is to invest in the health and safety of our youth. One way this is demonstrated is with our Teen Driver Challenge program. As such, on behalf of our Florida sheriffs, I endorse and fully support the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ Teen Driver Safety Week initiative.”
“Crash data continues to show that teen drivers remain our most vulnerable group of road users,” said Matt Nasworthy, Public Affairs Director for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Parents and guardians can help prevent those crashes by staying engaged in the learning-to-drive process and by setting a good example of not driving distracted themselves.”
For tips on how to talk to teens about driving safety, please visit FLHSMV’s teen driver webpage for shareable graphics, data, and other resources. Use the hashtag #WeArriveAlive throughout the week to add and share important teen driving safety information.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) provides highway safety and security through excellence in service, education and enforcement. The department is leading the way to A Safer Florida through the efficient and professional execution of its core mission: the issuance of driver licenses, vehicle tags and titles and operation of the Florida Highway Patrol. To learn more about FLHSMV and the services offered, visit https://www.flhsmv.gov, follow us on Twitter @FLHSMV, find us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram. For safe driving tips and techniques, download the official Florida Driver License Handbook.