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Depression, Teenagers and Car Accidents in Florida

It is no surprise that among all drivers, teenagers are a major cause of car accidents in Miami and across the State of Florida. According to national car accident statistics, teenage drivers are extremely vulnerable to serious injury and death while driving. In fact, automobile accidents are one of the leading causes of death for teenagers across the country, with teens being three times more likely to get into collisions than other, more experienced drivers. In Florida alone, teenage-related car crashes have reached epidemic proportions, with the State reporting the highest amount of accidents (involving serious injury and death) across the country for children between the ages of 15 and 19 years.

In recent years however, an additional cause of car accidents among teenagers – depression – has become a serious and ever increasing problem. According to an international study reviewing the correlation between teenage drivers and their corresponding emotional state, teens suffering from depression who get behind the wheel are much more likely than those who are not depressed to cause serious and life-threatening car crashes. While numerous factors are involved in causing teenagers to get into car accidents – such as their rate of speed, immaturity, alcohol/drug consumption, use of cell phones while driving, risk-oriented behavior and lack of experience – depression, which leads to risky and hazardous driving behaviors, has become an additionally recognized cause of teenage automobile collisions.

For instance, the above study suggests that depression causes teenagers to lose focus on the road, engage in distracted and/or impaired driving, and act aggressively or recklessly towards other drivers on the road. Moreover, it may also influence them to engage in destructive behaviors, such as drinking and consuming drugs. When combined with driving, these can and often do have disastrous consequences.
In light of the above, how can you protect yourself and your loved ones when behind the wheel?

1. If you notice that a teenager is driving erratically or irresponsibly, report them immediately. Do not wait to see what happens next. The quicker you report them the more likely they will face consequences for their actions. If possible, get the make, model and license plate number of the offender’s vehicle. Make sure to report this information accurately to the police so that the teenage driver can be readily identified and brought to justice.

2. Talk to your kids. If you are the parent of a teenager, if is crucial that you speak to them about the inherent risks of driving, whether depressed or not. If you notice your child is acting differently, make sure to address the situation immediately rather than letting things get worse. Teenagers can easily get depressed over their school situations, social life, etc. Getting them help right away is key to their safety as well as the safety of others on the road.

3. Teach your children safe driving habits. If you model good driving behavior for your children, chances are they will follow your lead.

4. Do not allow your children to use their cell phones while driving. Be sure to advise them about the dangers associated with distracted driving before they get behind the wheel. Also look into anti-texting software that you can install on your teen’s phone should he or she continue to engage in this dangerous behavior (despite your requests to the contrary).

If you have been injured in an accident, contact our Miami Car Accident Attorneys today to schedule your free and completely confidential consultation. We will examine the facts of your case and advise you as to the full scope of your legal rights and options. Our attorneys are available 24/7 through e-mail or answering service. Call us at either (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400, or feel free to contact us online to find out how we make a difference for our clients. Let the seasoned lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano ease your burdens and fight for the compensation you deserve.

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