A tragic automobile accident in Clermont, Florida resulted in the deaths of two teens. According to a preliminary investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol, Anthony Santiago lost control of his vehicle as he tried to negotiate a curve. Santiago and Tanner Guidry, both 16-years-old were killed in the accident. Another passenger, 15-year-old Francisco Ontiveros survived the crash, but he was flown to Orlando Regional Medical Center in serious condition. The other driver, 33-year-old Ciara Rodriguez was also hospitalized with serious injuries and her vehicle caught on fire after the crash, said the FHP.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of deaths for teens in the United States. About 3,000 teens in 2009 aged 15-19 were killed and more than 350,000 were injured. Fortunately, proven strategies can help prevent crashes and improve the safety of young drivers.
Research shows that graduated drivers licensing (GDL) programs are associated with a decrease of 38 percent in fatal crashes and 40 percent of injury crashes among 16-year-old drivers. GDL programs are designed to delay a teen’s full license while allowing them to get initial driving experience under low-risk conditions.
Florida’s GDL laws has three stages:
1. Learner’s License: Teens must be at least 15-years-old to apply for a learner’s license. With a learner’s license, your teen can only drive during daylight hours for the first three months and until 10 p.m. after. The teen must always be with a licensed driver who is at least 21-years-old in the front seat.
2. Intermediate License: Teens must be at least 16-years-old and have had their learner’s license for at least one year without any traffic convictions. Their driving privileges are based on their age.
3. Full Privilege License: When a teen turns 18-years-old, all restrictions are removed from their license.
Florida parents should become familiar with Florida’s GDL laws so they can help enforce the laws. As a result, they can help keep their teens and other teen drivers safe. For more information on this topic, see teens killed in firey Clearmont crash.