The family of a 15-year-old who tragically lost his life in a car accident 9 months ago is asking Florida lawmakers to consider a measure that is popular in other states. The accident involved the young man driving with two teen passengers riding with him. Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have passed laws restricting the number of passengers who can ride with drivers who are still in the intermediate stage. The intermediate stage is the period after the learner stage, but before a driver is granted full driving privileges. Florida is one of the three states that have no passenger restriction law.
Studies have shown that teen drivers with teen passengers suffer greatly increased rates of traffic accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has long encouraged states to pass graduated driver licensing systems, including measures to restrict the passengers that new drivers are allowed to transport. While Florida does have a GDL law in place, it has no restrictions on passengers for driver with intermediate state licenses. The majority of states allow teen drivers to have one non family member riding along, though 15 states do not allow these drivers to have any non family member passengers.
Teen passengers may be too distracting for new drivers to handle. In addition, teen passengers may influence a teen driver to speed, drink and drive, or engage in other high-risk behaviors. Passenger restriction laws help teens navigate the difficult early stages of driving without the pressure and distraction that comes with non-adult passengers.
Source: Newschannel 7, “Parents of Teens Killed in Car Crash Lobby to Change FL Driving Laws,” by Bergen Baucom, 5 June 2013