Spring Break Safety

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Tips for A Safe Spring Break

As parents, you play a crucial role in guiding your teen away from risky behavior, particularly when it comes to road safety. By modeling safe driving practices and having open conversations with your teens about the rules of the road, you can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and fatalities.

Read below for important information on topics such as distracted driving, knowing the law, limiting passengers, and enforcing safe driving habits. Together, let's make our roads safer for everyone.

Parents

  • Lead by Example: We commit to modeling safe driving behaviors at all times, including obeying traffic laws, wearing seat belts, and avoiding distractions.
  • Open Communication: We pledge to engage in open and honest conversations about the importance of safe driving practices, including the dangers of distracted driving.
  • Setting Expectations: We agree to establish clear rules and expectations for teen drivers, including curfews, passenger limitations, and adherence to traffic laws.

Teen Drivers

  • Responsibility: I understand that driving is a privilege and that I have a responsibility to prioritize safety for myself and others on the road.
  • Focus and Attention: I pledge to always stay focused on the road ahead, avoid distractions such as texting or using my phone, and remain vigilant of my surroundings.
  • Respect for the Law: I agree to obey all traffic laws and regulations, including speed limits, traffic signals, and seat belt requirements, at all times.
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Safety Tips for Parents

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Be A Good Role Model

From early childhood to driving age, teens have been closely observing their parents’ actions behind the wheel. If a parent texts while driving or makes a phone call, their children may be more likely to follow that behavior. That’s why it’s so important for parents to model safe behavior on the road.

We encourage all parents to model safe driving by:

  • Following speed limits and other rules of the road;
  • Always wearing seat belts;
  • Never engaging in road rage;
  • Avoiding distractions including those beyond your phone, like applying makeup or eating; and
  • Maintaining a safe following distance.

Talk to Your Teen

In addition to setting a good example, it’s important for parents to talk to their teens about safe driving from an early age.

Traffic crashes stand as a primary cause of fatalities among teenagers aged 15 to 18. In 2021, 861 teenage drivers lost their lives in collisions, with a total of 2,608 teen drivers involved in crashes resulting in fatalities.

Talking to your teen about the rules of the road could help prevent a crash or even a traffic fatality.

(Source: NHTSA)

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Conversation Starters

"I want to discuss the dangers of distracted driving, such as texting or using your phone while behind the wheel. How can we ensure you stay focused on the road?"

"Let's talk about why it's crucial to always wear your seat belt while driving. Do you know how seat belts protect you in case of an accident?"

"Driving with friends can be fun, but it's essential to make safe decisions even when pressured by others. How do you plan to handle situations where friends may encourage risky behaviors?"

"It's crucial to understand and obey traffic laws. Can you explain what you know about speed limits, traffic signals, and other road regulations?"

"It's essential to be prepared for emergencies while driving. Do you know what to do in case of a flat tire, engine failure, or minor accident? Let's go over some basic procedures."

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Distracted Driving

Studies indicate that dialing a phone number while driving escalates the risk of your teenager crashing by sixfold, while texting behind the wheel raises this risk by a staggering 23 times.

Frequently emphasize to your teenager that driving demands their complete attention. Encourage them to postpone texts and phone calls until they reach their destination.

Know the Law

According to FLHSMV, “Florida Statutes allows law enforcement to stop motor vehicles and issue citations to motorists that are texting and driving.”

The penalties are as follows:

First Offense $30 No Points
Second Offense $60 3 points
School Zone (any time) $60 3 points
Work Zone (any time) $60 3 points

Limit Passengers

Research conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that the likelihood of a crash rises with each additional teenage passenger accompanying your newly licensed teen driver. Having one teen passenger elevates the risk by 50%, while two passengers increase it by 158%, and three passengers skyrocket it to an astonishing 207%.

(Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety)

No Teenage Passengers for the First Year

While it might appear highly inconvenient to restrict your teen's capacity to provide rides to younger siblings or friends, it's an essential measure for ensuring your teen's safety. Surprisingly, friends and siblings may pose a greater risk than other passengers because of their familiarity with your teen's triggers. Parents should strongly consider enforcing a rule that their teen driver cannot drive with teenage passengers for their first year on the road.

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Safety Tips for Teens

Buckle Up

Teens, follow this simple rule: Your vehicle doesn’t move until all passengers, both in the front and back seats, are securely buckled up for every journey without exception. Shockingly, over half of the passengers who lost their lives in cars driven by teenage drivers in 2021 were not wearing seat belts.

(Source: NTHSA)

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Eyes on the Road

Around 10% of teen drivers engaged in fatal crashes in recent years were distracted during the incidents.

Take Action

Teens, activate the "do not disturb" feature on your phones to help mitigate distractions caused by notifications.

Don’t Drive Impaired

In 2021, 19% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking (Source: NHTSA).

The law in Florida is very clear. Do Not Drink and Drive. For drivers under age 21, there is a strict policy of zero tolerance for drinking and driving. Drivers under 21 found with a blood alcohol level of .02 percent or higher will face an immediate six-month license suspension. A second offense warrants a one-year suspension. Refusal to undergo testing on the first offense leads to a 12-month suspension, escalating to 18 months for subsequent offenses. Keep in mind, those penalties don’t include the legal and other costs associated with drunk driving.

(Source: FLHSMV)

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