south florida teen driving accident prevention

Is Your Teen Ready to Drive? What Florida Parents Should Look For


As your teen approaches their 15th birthday, they have an exciting opportunity – the ability to get their learner’s permit. The Florida learner’s permit allows residents to start the journey toward driving – and freedom! However, in the immortal words of Uncle Ben from Spiderman (say it with us), “With great power comes great responsibility.”

You have probably already started to worry about your teenager getting behind the wheel. After all, motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teens in America. Distracting phones, friends, and reckless drivers on the road can take a person’s life in an instant. Additionally, while poor drivers can be found in every single age bracket, younger drivers tend to be especially risky.

Is your teenager really ready to take on the responsibility of driving safely?

It’s a question that every parent has to answer for themselves, but there are signs you can look for to help you decide. If your teenager displays the following, they are likely ready to get their permit. If not, you might want to wait a year (or two) before letting them get behind the wheel.

Here are some signs your teenager is ready to drive:

Self-Control (Especially with Their Phone)

The National Safety Council reports that over 3,000 people are killed in the United States due to a distracted driver every year. One of the biggest distractions is cell phones – responding to a text can instantly become a life-or-death situation when behind the wheel. Can your teenager put away their phone while they drive?

If your teenager is too addicted to their phone, they may not be able to resist turning it off while they drive. Not only is texting while driving dangerous, it could also get them in trouble with the law. If you constantly have to take your teen’s phone away or have a hard time communicating with them due to their phone usage, it may be best not to hand over the keys.

Is Your Teen Ready to Drive? What Florida Parents Should Look For

Safe Riding

The rules of being a safe driver often apply to passengers as well. The next time you drive your teenager somewhere, take a look at how they behave and stay safe.

Did they buckle up? Do they take on the role of navigator so that you can drive without distractions? On the other hand, did they tell you to speed up at any point? Did they distract you? Did they turn the music all the way up and focus more on the lyrics than road signs?

If a teenager takes their position in the car seriously, they may be ready to get behind the wheel.

Adherence to House Rules

There are a lot of rules on the road: speed limits, giving pedestrians and certain cars the right of way, curfews for young drivers, and so on. If your teen does not follow these rules, they could get pulled over and ticketed. (Or worse, they could cause an accident and hurt themselves or others.)

Teenagers who are ready to drive are those who can be trusted with these rules – but how do you know this until they get behind the wheel? One sign is their attitude toward rules in general. Does your teenager tend to obey rules given to them by authority figures, or do you catch them breaking rules often? If they don’t obey the rules at home, they most likely won’t obey the rules of the road.

Knowledge of “Safe” Driving

Have a conversation with your teenager about what it means to be a “safe” driver. Not just a “good” driver, but a safe one.

Leave the conversation open to see what your teenager thinks. If they mention the ability to follow the rules and stay alert, they are probably ready to start practicing.

Trust your instincts. If you talk to your teenager and feel that they need to mature before they get behind the wheel, hold back and give them a few months before they get their permit. (Or enroll them in a driver’s education course.)

Teen Driving Accident Attorneys

Remember – unsafe driving could cost your teenager their life. Listen to your gut and only allow them to start driving when you feel confident in their ability to stay safe.

Want more information about teaching your teenager to drive? Read our comprehensive guide to teen driving on our website.


Keep Your Teens Safe: Alternatives to Driving to Prom

Keep Your Teens Safe: Alternatives to Driving to Prom

Keep Your Teens Safe: Alternatives to Driving to Prom

In the height of prom season, across the country, local police and first responders work with surrounding schools, survivors, and other drunk driving prevention organizations to reenact realistic reminders of why teens in their communities shouldn’t drink and drive.

One survivor in Illinois recounted his experience of being ejected through a car window after plowing into a telephone pole following a night of drugs and alcohol, and the time it took afterward to re-learn the basic functions of walking, talking, and feeding himself. He also revealed that of the two who were with him, one was in prison, the other dead.

Closer to home, Palm Beach County first responders partnered with the Health Care District and Royal Palm Beach High School SADD members to present “Shattered Dreams,” a prom night car crash reenactment complete with real police and firefighter rescue.

Despite these tragic true stories, far too many teens innately believe that “it won’t happen to me.”

So, one way parents can further ensure their teens’ safety this prom season is to provide them with transportation options to and from the festivities – and require that they decide well before prom night.

Today’s post suggests some fun and flashy alternatives to driving that are way more stylish than that tired, played-out limo rental or letting one of their friends drive them as part of a group.

Party Bus Is the New Stretch

These vehicles offer standing room and the ability for folks to move around a lot easier than a packed limo – when it’s stopped, of course. They also boast a dedicated area to stock non-alcoholic refreshments and snacks, and usually have great sound systems wired to Bluetooth in passengers’ own playlists. They fit way more people than a limo, too.

The more party people in the bus, the less there are on the roadways alone. This is a great option for that high school crew looking for rock star treatment.  

Take the Trolley

A dozen or more of your teen’s closest friends packing a trolley – what could be more fun (and safe) than that? It may take a little research, but depending on your location, where prom takes place, and trolley run times, this could be one of the most cost-efficient and exciting adventures of the evening for them!

One of the many, many people who don’t live in an area with an actual, working trolley system? If everyone wants to invest a bit more, there are also a few charter trolley rentals around the South Florida area you can check into.

Romantic Ride-Sharing

Ride-sharing has hands-down been one of the most quickly-integrated technologies of the last decade – you, your teen, or both may have already used ride-sharing services on different occasions.

Think ride-sharing doesn’t seem very “prom”? Fair enough, but you may not be aware of some of today’s available service upgrades. We suggest looking into UberSelect, UberBLACK and UberSUV options in your local area. These are luxury livery services, offering commercially registered and insured SUV and luxury sedans complete with uniformed drivers.

A Walk in the Moonlight

What about a leisurely stroll to and from the event? It’s a sure-fire way to avoid a traffic accident, and a sweet opportunity to extend a perfect evening.

You can sell it to your little lovebird as a chance for them to spend time alone with each other – but in public, close to home, and with pre-approved check-ins or curfew time so you can reasonably know they’re safe.

Teen Car Accident Lawyer

If your teen does decide to drive, recommend a combination – maybe suggest driving to prom and then taking a safer alternative home. If they insist on driving round trip, there are other safety tips you can offer to limit distractions, such as keeping it to one couple per vehicle to avoid over excitement and reduce overall number of people at risk of being hurt in an accident. Also, don’t hesitate to remind them that the primary way they can prevent a DUI accident is simple: don’t ever drink and drive.


About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.