TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) recognizes October 20 to 26 as National Teen Driver Safety Week in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). FLHSMV joins the Florida Department of Education, Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Associations and AAA – The Auto Club to educate teens, parents, caregivers and educators on the importance of staying focused while driving and putting down devices to ensure all teens Arrive Alive.
“Learning to drive is an exciting time for a teenager, but driving is a privilege,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “It is critical to instill safe driving habits and techniques in young drivers early to ensure all motorists on our roadways are safe. I encourage all parents to take this week to remind the young drivers in their life about the shared responsibility they take on when getting behind the wheel.”
Florida teens, ages 15-19, make up almost five percent of Florida’s licensed drivers. However, in 2018, teen crashes made up almost 12 percent of all crashes. In 2018, there were 47,583 crashes with teen drivers, resulting in 90 teen driver fatalities.
“FHP strongly encourages parents to talk with their teen drivers before they get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and lead by example” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Remind your teens to buckle up, eliminate distractions and focus on driving.”
“It is important for everyone behind the wheel to remove distractions, especially Florida’s teen drivers,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. “It is also vital for adults to practice safe driving habits on our roadways, as they are an example for everyone in the vehicle. FDOT is proud to join the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles in raising awareness on this important issue and remind drivers to always Put It Down.”
“The Florida Police Chiefs Association wants to remind parents that they should talk to their teens about safe driving habits on a reoccurring basis throughout the year,” stated Chief Kenneth Albano, Temple Terrace Police Department and President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association. “Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, so reminding our youth of the dangers of getting behind the wheel and the importance of practicing safe driving habits is imperative. Some important tips include, always wearing a seat belt, never driving distracted, driving the speed limit and never driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”
“The Florida sheriffs are committed to promoting and supporting programs that help keep our youth safe, especially when they are driving on our state’s roadways. On behalf of all Florida sheriffs, I fully endorse the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ Put it Down and Focus on Driving campaign,” said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, President of the Florida Sheriffs Association.
“Teens need to learn how to drive safely, especially before they have the distraction of other teen passengers riding with them,” said Matt Nasworthy, Florida Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “That is why it is critical that parents and others closest to them make proper training a priority and set a good example behind the wheel.”
FLHSMV will be promoting the Tuesday, October 22, during Teen Driver Safety Week, as Teen Arrive Alive Day with events throughout the state and sharing important safety information on social media channels.
FLHSMV encourages parents, caregivers and educators to take the time to talk with teenagers about the importance of focusing on driving to Arrive Alive. For tips on how to talk to teens about driving safety, visit the FLHSMV’s website https://www.flhsmv.gov/teen for shareable graphics, data and other resources. Use the hashtag #WeArriveAlive throughout the week to add and share important teen driving safety information.