Like many states, Florida has a graduated license program. According to
Craig Goldenfarb, a
car accident lawyer in West Palm Beach, these programs are designed to prevent West Palm Beach car accidents
by gradually allowing young drivers more responsibility. The latest research
shows these programs work - to a degree. Nationwide, accident rates have
dropped among 16 and 17 year olds. However, these programs may mean a
greater risk of car crash injury and death for 18 year old drivers.
Florida has had a graduated license program since 1996. Teen drivers in
Florida must progress through three licensing stages:
- Learner's License
- Operational License
- Full License
The learner's license is available to fifteen-year-olds who have completed
a required traffic law and substance abuse education course. Drivers with
a learner's license may not drive without a licensed driver in the
car. They may not drive after dark for the first three months after the
learner's license is issued. After the first three months, they may
not drive between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
After twelve months, a teen with a learner's license that has not had
any traffic convictions may apply for an operator's license. To receive
an operator's license, the teen must have at least 50 hours of experience
behind the wheel, including ten hours of night driving. The teen must
also pass a driving test administered by a driver license examiner. An
operator's license allows a teen to drive only between the hours of
6 a.m. and 11 p.m., unless he is driving to or from work or has a licensed
driver over age 21 in the vehicle.
At age 18, a Florida teen driver may apply for a full license.
The new study, which was published this week in the Journal of the American
Medical Association, has found that graduated license programs are successful
when teens go through the program. Graduated license programs reduce fatal
crashes involving 16-year-old drivers by as much as 26 percent.
However, the authors of the study found that many teens decide to choose
the restrictions and wait until they are 18 to get a full license. The
18-year-old drivers are allowed full driving privileges despite their
lack of experience. This puts the young drivers at a high risk for car
accidents. There are as many as 12 percent more fatal crashes among newly-licensed
18-year-olds. Graduated license programs do not appear to have an effect
on the fatal crash rates of 17 and 19-year-old drivers.
In the United States, fatal car crash rates among 16 and 17-year-old drivers
have fallen, but deadly accidents among 18-to-19-year-olds have risen
by an almost equal amount.
Have you been injured in a West Palm Beach car accident? You may have a
tough time getting fair insurance compensation for your injuries. Learn
more in Craig Goldenfarb's book,
What the Insurance Companies Don't Want You to Know. To request a free copy or to discuss your Florida accident injury claim
with a car accident lawyer in West Palm Beach, contact the Law Offices
of Craig Goldenfarb at (561) 600-5605.