Driving Safety

Teen Drivers

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With over 750,000 licensed teen drivers in the state of Florida, it is so important for teens and all the adults around them to practice safe driving. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) works to educate teens on the importance of buckling up, observing all speed limits, never driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and always keeping hands on the wheel, eyes on the road and mind on driving.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is joining the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in recognizing National Teen Driver Safety Week from October 16 to 22 and highlighting Teen Arrive Alive Day on October 18 with events throughout the state to remind teens and adults around them to stay safe behind the wheel.

Teen Arrive Alive Day on October 18 is a statewide effort to educate parents and teens on safe driving behaviors to ultimately prevent teen crashes by focusing on enforcing Graduated Driver License (GDL) laws, driving sober and operating a motor vehicle fully engaged without distractions. We want all our teens to Arrive Alive.

GDL laws in Florida allow young divers to safely gain experience under lower-risk conditions before obtaining full driving privileges. In 1996, Florida became the first state to enact GDL laws and since then every state has adopted the GDL program in some capacity. For more information on licensing requirement for teens and GDL laws, please click here.

Driving is a Privilege – Don’t Lose It

  • Your parents can rescind your driver license.
    • The parent or guardian who signs the Parental Consent Form can rescind responsibility for your driving and cancel your license.
  • If you get six or more points on your license within 12 months, your license is restricted to “Business Purposes Only” for one year.
    • If you receive six points on your driving record within a 12 month period, your driving privileges are automatically restricted to Business Purposes Only for 12 months or until you are 18, whichever happens first. If you receive additional points during this restricted period, the restriction is extended 90 days for each additional point.
  • If you’re under 21, it’s ZERO TOLERANCE for drinking and driving.
    • Drivers under the age of 21 with a blood alcohol level of .02 percent or more will have their license immediately suspended for six months. A second offense will result in a one year suspension. Refusal to submit to testing (first offense) results in a suspension of 12 months, 18 months on a second offense.
  • If you get a moving violation conviction while you have a Learner’s License, you have one more year until you can get an Operator’s License.
    • If you receive a moving traffic conviction while you have a Learner’s License, the one-year period you are required to hold your Learner’s License will be extended for one year from the date of the conviction, or until you are 18 years old, whichever happens first.
  • You must be in compliance with school attendance, or you’re ineligible to obtain or maintain your license.
    • If you are not in compliance with school attendance, your driving privilege can be suspended until you provide proof you have attended school for 30 consecutive days.
  • If you’re convicted of possession of tobacco – you lose your license for a minimum of 30 days.
    • If you are convicted for possession of tobacco or nicotine products, and you are under age 18, your license will be suspended for 30 days or more.

 

There are driving curfews for minors with learner’s and operator’s licenses:

Driving Curfews for Minors
License TypeHoursNote:
Learner's LicenseDaylight hours first three months license issued--10pm after three monthsALWAYS accompanied by a licensed driver 21+
16 year old with Operator's LicenseNOT between 11pm to 6amUnless driving to or from work OR accompanied by a licensed driver 21+
17 year old with Operator's LicenseNOT between 1am to 5amUnless driving to or from work OR accompanied by a licensed driver 21+

Teen Driver Safety Tips

Before you drive:                               

  • Put on your seat belt and make sure all your passengers buckle up, too.
  • Keep passengers at a minimum. Extra passengers can be distracting for an inexperienced teen driver. Never try to fit more people in the car than you have seat belts for them to use.
  • When driving to a new place, get complete directions before you go. Figure out exactly where you are going before you head down the road.
  • Maintain your car’s optimum performance. Check your tires and make sure they are inflated to the right pressure according to your owner’s manual. Bald tires, a slipping transmission, bad brakes, a dirty windshield or a hesitant engine could lead to accidents.
  • Make sure your car has gas in it. Don’t ride around with the gauge on empty and risk getting stranded somewhere unsafe.
  • Be responsible, don’t drink and drive, and don’t ride with anyone who has been drinking. Call parents or friends to take you home if you need a ride.
  • Never drive under the influence of drugs. Don’t ride with anyone who has been using drugs. Even some over the counter drugs can make you drowsy so check labels for warnings.

While you drive:

  • Stop speeding before it stops you. Obey all speed limits, stops signs, and traffic lights. Going too fast gives you less time to stop or react. Excess speed is one of the main causes of teenage crashes.
  • Use turn signals to indicate your intention to turn or to change lanes and to give the drivers behind you enough time to react before you take the action. Then make sure the signal turns off after you’ve completed the action.
  • Keep your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and mind on driving. Don’t adjust the radio or any device, talk or text on your cell phone, put on make-up, comb your hair or eat while driving. Wait until you can pull over safely and stop because even taking your focus off the road for a few seconds could lead to a crash.
  • Don’t blast your music. You might miss hearing a siren or a horn that could warn you of possible trouble.
  • Share the road with others – watch out for motorcycles, bikes and pedestrians.
  • Don’t leave your car in cruise control when you’re driving late at night or when you’re tired. If you fall asleep at the wheel, the car will crash at the speed you’ve set your cruise control to maintain.
  • Be aware of the weather, traffic congestion and road conditions – stay alert!

Be a courteous and safe driver at all times – Arrive Alive!

 

Information and Tips provided courtesy of MyDriveFlorida.com and TeenDriving.com

Other Resources

Teen Arrive Alive Logo

Florida SADD – GDL Poster

Florida Teen Driver Stats – Licensed Drivers by County

Florida Teen Driver Stats – Teen Crashes by County

Florida Teen Driver Stats – Top 10 Citations Issued by Age

Florida Sheriffs Association’s Free Course: Teen Driver Challenge

Campaign Evaluation Report