Teens and Car Accidents

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

The good news is that the number of teenagers killed in car accidents in Florida has decreased dramatically, dropping from 414 in 2005 to 222 in 2009. In just four short years, the number of teen traffic fatalities has been cut in half in the state.

What is responsible for this dramatic reduction in teenage mortality in car accidents? Many hold up Florida’s graduated drivers’ license program, the first in the nation, but now emulated by nearly every state. However, the graduated license system was introduced in 1996, a year when only 243 teens were killed in car accidents. Despite the graduated license system, teen fatalities would almost double before the tide began to stem.

So what was the cause of this dramatic upswing in teen car accident fatalities and its almost as rapid decline? Most likely, it was SUVs. Although they present an appearance of ruggedness and safety, SUVs were significantly more dangerous than passenger cars to their drivers and passengers. And if we look at the statistics for car accident fatalities in Florida, we see that the significant increase in teen deaths from 1996 to 2005 parallels the rise in deaths for light truck (mostly SUV) passengers, which rose from 477 in 1996 to 883 in 2005, then declined to 649 in 2009. As the family car switched from a sedan to an SUV that was potentially unstable, especially when driven by an inexperienced driver, we saw a dramatic increase in the number of SUV rollover-related teen driver deaths. Now that SUVs are becoming safer, the number of fatalities is going down again.

If your teenager has suffered an injury in a car accident near West Palm Beach, the injury may not be wholly their fault. It may be due to a dangerous or defective automobile. To learn whether you can receive compensation for your teen’s injuries, please contact The Cochran Firm South Florida for a free case evaluation.