By: Chris Brunner

National Teen Driver Safety Week kicks off Sunday and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wrecks are the leading cause of death for teens aged 15 to 18.

National Teen Driver Safety Week is now being recognized by The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles through October 26.

In conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, FLHSMV joins the Florida Department of Education, Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Associations, and AAA 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.

FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes said learning to drive is an exciting time for a teenager, but driving is a privilege.

“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.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, President of the Florida Sheriffs Association fully endorses the “Put it Down and Focus on Driving campaign.”

“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,” he said.

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.”

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.