Florida Teen Driver Fact Sheet – 2021

Florida Teen Fact Sheet 2021

Identifying Florida’s Teen Traffic Safety Challenges

Nationally, teen drivers were involved in approximately 911,483 crashes resulting in 3,833 fatalities and 364,095 serious injuries in 2019. Florida has more than 400,000 registered teen drivers, age 15 to 19. In Florida, teen drivers were involved in 60,135 crashes resulting in 279 fatalities and 2,200 serious injuries in 2019. Nationally, drivers aged 16 and 17 have the highest crash rates of any age group. Peer pressure is an especially potent contributing factor to teen driver vehicle crashes.

A recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study found:

  • Teens were two-and-a-half times more likely to engage in potentially risky behavior when driving with a teenage peer versus driving alone.
  • The likelihood increased to three times when traveling with multiple passengers.
  • Safety belts were not worn in one-third of the deaths and serious injuries involving these teen drivers.

Teen drivers are inexperienced and therefore more likely to underestimate dangerous situations and allow shorter distances between vehicles. From 2015-2019, more than one third of all Florida teen fatalities, serious injuries and crashes occurred at intersections where the mix of traffic, pedestrians, signs, and signals can be overwhelming, especially for someone who is inexperienced. The Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws allow new drivers to gain necessary experience and skills before being allowed full driving privileges. GDL has been very effective in reducing fatalities and serious injuries among teen drivers.

Annual Teen Driver Fatalities, Serious Injuries and Crashes

Florida’s population and daily vehicle miles traveled (VMT) continues to rise which has contributed to the rising number of annual fatalities on Florida’s roadways. However, while Florida’s fatalities continue to trend upward, the number of serious injuries on Florida’s roadways have been declining, dropping by 16 percent since 2015, despite a 10 percent increase in the total number of crashes in the same time period.

  • Like overall statewide fatalities, Florida’s number of teen driver fatalities has increased slightly since 2015 (5 percent), likely tied to Florida’s growing population and daily vehicle miles traveled.
  • Serious injuries to teen drivers has declined, like the overall statewide trend in serious injuries. Increased adoption and advancements in vehicle safety technology (e.g. lane departure warnings and automatic braking) are likely factors in fe­­­wer serious injuries, despite the increased number of total crashes.
  • In general, teens are more likely to be involved in a crash when driving with other teens in the vehicle.

*Data provided by FLHSMV for the period of 2015-2019. Data includes all fatalities, serious injuries, and crashes involving a teen driver.