Parents should use teen driving Web site

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By The Staff

Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death and serious injury for young people in America – and with summer upon us, more teens than ever are operating motor vehicles on our highways.

In response, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has taken a laudable step and launched a parents’ section on its teen driving Web site at www.flhsmv.gov/teens.

The new and improved site provides parents with useful information to help them teach their teens to become safe drivers.

Florida’s graduated driver licensing program allows teens to obtain a learner’s permit at age 15, which restricts them to driving only under certain conditions with a licensed adult. Other restrictions apply to teens with an operator’s license until their 18th birthday.

To ensure that both parents and teens have a complete understanding of the law, an explanation of each phase of the graduated licensing program and the related restrictions can be found on the Web site.

“Traffic crashes are the number one cause of death for youths in our nation, claiming thousands of lives each year,” said Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Lieutenant Bill Leeper. “Many crashes are caused by avoidable behavior, and we know parents want to do all that they can to keep their young drivers safe. The information on this Web site will help parents and teens develop those good driving habits.”

Certain behaviors are associated with the cause of the high fatality rate of teen drivers, including: inexperience and immaturity combined with speed, alcohol consumption, not wearing seatbelts, distractions, drowsiness and driving when visibility is limited.

The Web site includes a driving guide and a driving log to track the 50 hours of practice that teens must record to obtain their intermediate operator’s license.

“In 1996, Florida became the first state to enact a graduated driving law, but statistics show that too many teens do not adhere to restricted hours,” Leeper said. “Parents need to be informed of Florida’s teen driving laws so they can ensure their teens comply with the law.”

The Department is leading the way to safer Florida roads through the execution of its core mission: the issuance of driver licenses, vehicle tags and titles and operation of the Florida Highway Patrol and programs such as this.

It is now up to the parents and the teens themselves, to take advantage of this service. To learn more about DHSMV and the services offered, visit www.flhsmv.gov.