Car accidents are the leading cause of death for Florida teens, according to the CDC. Adolescents across the country face four times the crash risk as drivers over 20, particularly in the first 18 months of receiving their license. Part of that risk could result from inexperience or immaturity. Still, a recent report suggests that a significant factor in car accidents involving teens comes from the type of vehicle they drive. Small vehicles do not offer the same protection as larger cars in a crash, and older cars are less likely to have vital safety features.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a study between 2013 and 2017 and found that nearly 70% of teens who died in accidents were driving cars older than six years. The study also discovered that those driving older vehicles faced four times the fatality risk as those driving newer models. At the Baker Legal Team, we understand parents’ reluctance to spend a lot of money for their teen’s first vehicle, but older vehicles are not as safe as newer ones. If your teen was in a car accident in Florida, we could help.
Why Do Older Cars Put Drivers at Higher Crash Risk?
Vintage car collectors and drivers argue that they don’t make cars like they used to. They aren’t wrong. Car manufacturers design vehicles much safer than older models. Ultimately, the older the car, the more likely the crash will be fatal. Part of the problem is that older cars do not have the same safety features newer models come with, such as:
- Forward collision warning
- Adaptive headlights
- Blindspot detection
- Emergency braking
- Backup cameras
- Stability control
- Rollover protection
- Side airbags
Smaller cars also have smaller “crush zones,” which is a structural safety feature that absorbs the impact of a collision.
How to Keep My Teen Driver Safe in Florida
Investing in a newer vehicle is one of the most straightforward ways to keep teen drivers safe on the road. However, buying a new car is not in every family’s budget. There is nothing wrong with buying a used car, as long as it has vital safety features. A good rule of thumb is not to purchase a vehicle that is more than five years old.
Beyond finding a safe vehicle for your teen, it is also a good idea to have regular safety discussions. Remind them that, while they can take every precaution, not all drivers are as considerate. Ensure they know to follow the speed limit, stop at traffic lights and stop signs, and merge safely. Additionally, teens are more likely to engage in distracted driving, such as texting or eating behind the wheel. It is also vital to remember that teen drivers tend to follow by example. If you practice safe driving with your teen in the vehicle, they are more likely to do the same.
Beyond this, the CDC has a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement that outlines hazards and details consequences for breaking the rules. These include the teen driver pledging to obey the rules of the road, staying focused on driving, and respecting traffic laws.
Contact a Skilled Auto Accident Attorney in South Florida
If your teen was in an auto accident in South Florida, contact the Baker Legal Team today. The longer you wait to hire an attorney, the more difficult it may be to receive the compensation needed to cover accident-related costs. Our car accident attorneys can review evidence, contact insurance companies, and document your case.
If you wait too long to take action, the other party’s insurance company may not believe you truly need the compensation. The more time your attorney has to build a strong case, the more money it may be possible to recover. To schedule a free consultation, call (561) 320-000 or complete our contact form today.