Teens In The Passenger Seat: What Florida Parents Should Consider

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speeding-ticket-2-2-426515-mAs your child approaches the later teen years, your primary concerns often include choosing the right St. Petersburg driving school and coaching safety behind the wheel, but what about riding? Millions of teens are involved in car accidents every year, but not all of them are in the driver’s seat. It’s important to understand as a parent that a child riding in the passenger seat is at as much risk, if not more, than the teen behind the wheel.


What should your child do if his or her friend is accelerating past the speed limit? This is a question that you should be asking yourself and your teen before anyone leaves the driveway. Speeding is a leading cause of accidents involving teenagers. Additionally, new drivers will frequently fail to slow their speed when driving in inclement weather or on poor road conditions. A passenger should feel comfortable speaking up when someone else’s driving becomes a concern. If your child isn’t going to be forceful enough in that situation, should he or she be allowed to tag along?


Though the drinking age is 21, you can’t rely on all teens to make the right decision when offered alcohol. While Saint Petersburg bars are checking IDs, friends’ parents may not be. If your teen doesn’t have a license and is dependent on a friend for a ride home, will he or she know what to do if that friend starts drinking? Peer pressure can be a very difficult obstacle to overcome, but it is important for teens to understand that momentary popularity is not worth risking their lives. Be sure that you are giving your teen the free pass to call home, regardless of the time, for a ride.

Nighttime Driving

Speaking of the time of day, it is very wise for parents to set a curfew for teenagers. This gets them off the road at a safe hour. Young drivers are most likely to be involved in a car accident after dark. Even the most responsible teens do not have the experience to make them safe nighttime drivers. In the state of Florida, it is illegal for 16-year-old drivers to be on the road after 11:00pm. At the age of 17, that time extends to 1:00am. However, as a parent, you should be very attentive to the skill level of your own child and that of any driver he or she rides with before allowing late night trips.

Smartphone Use

There are apps that can be used by parents to limit cell phone use when the car is in use. However, you cannot rely on other parents to utilize these tools, so you must ensure that your child understands that it is never okay for a driver to be texting, emailing, or otherwise using a smartphone while driving. Even hands-free calling has found to be a serious and dangerous distraction for drivers. Teach your children to speak up when safety rules are being broken. After all, you can’t always be there to voice their concerns for them.

If your child is hurt in an accident because of a teenage driver acting irresponsibly, then you do have legal rights. Consult a personal injury attorney with the facts of the case to learn more about reimbursement of any potential monetary damages or medical expenses.