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Tragedy Strikes Port St. Lucie and Takes 3 Teenage Lives

Posted by Christopher Keller | Aug 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

Just last week, three young lives were cut short after a fatal car accident in Port St. Lucie. Last Saturday night, three teenage baseball players were traveling in a Toyota Camry when the vehicle crashed into a concrete utility pole. The car contained two 16-year-old students and one 15-year-old student. The two older boys passed away that night, and the younger boy was hospitalized until he passed away early Wednesday morning. Intensifying the tragedy of it all is the fact that two of the victims were brothers. The accident took place at the corner of California Boulevard and Heatherwood Boulevard. Local police say the car was traveling too fast while “negotiating a slight right-hand curve,” and the vehicle immediately caught fire upon impact. 

As the Centennial High School community and the Treasure Coast High School community come together to support each other during this time of enormous loss, students everywhere are being cautioned to remember the rules of the road as they get behind the wheel. There are normal traffic laws that every driver must follow, but there are also a few extra rules that young drivers must keep in mind. 

What are the Traffic Laws for Teens in Florida?

The additional rules for teens are described by the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles as: 

  • NO Moving Violation Convictions for One Year From Learner's License Date of Issuance
    • If the minor receives a moving traffic conviction while they have a learner's license, the one-year period they are required to hold their learner's license will be extended for one year from the date of the conviction or until they are 18 years old, whichever happens first.
    • Section 322.161, Florida Statutes
  • Compliance with School Attendance
    • If the minor is not in compliance with school attendance, their driving privilege can be suspended, or the minor may be ineligible to obtain a license until providing proof that they have attended school for 30 consecutive days.
    • Section 322.091, Florida Statutes
  • Zero Tolerance
    • Drivers under the age of 21 with a blood alcohol level of .02% or more will have their license immediately suspended for six months. A second offense will result in a one year suspension. Refusal to submit to testing (first offense) results in a suspension for a period of 12 months and 18 months for a second offense.
    • Section 322.2616, Florida Statutes
  • 6+ points Within 12 Months “Business Purposes Only” Restriction
    • If the minor receives six points on their driving record within a 12-month period, their driver license is automatically restricted to “Business Purposes Only” for 12 months or until they are 18, whichever happens first. If they receive additional points during this restricted period, the restriction is extended 90 days for each additional point.
  • Parents Can Rescind License
    • The parent or guardian who signs the Parental Consent Form can rescind responsibility for the minor's driving privilege and cancel their license. For more information click here.
    • Section 322.10, Florida Statutes
  • Convicted of Tobacco Possession
    • If the minor is convicted for possession of tobacco or nicotine products, their learner's license will be revoked for a minimum of 30 days.
    • Section 322.056, Florida Statutes

What is the Process for a Graduated License?

When you start driving as a teenager, your license has to go through a process before it gets to the same level as any other adult driver. The process includes the following three types of licenses: 

  • Learner's License
    1. For the first 3 months, only drive during the daylight hours
    2. After 3 months, can drive until 10 p.m.
    3. Must always have a licensed driver over 21 with you
    4. Must keep this for 12 months or until you turn 18, whichever comes first
    5. Need 50 hours of supervised driving (10 of these hours at night)
  • Driver's License at 16
    1. Cannot drive from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. 
    2. Exceptions made only when you are driving to work or are with a licensed driver over 21
  • Driver's License at 17
    1. Cannot drive between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.
    2. Exceptions made only when you are driving to work or are with a licensed driver over 21

As high schoolers return to schools this fall, we know the school year ahead is already going to be unique. There is enough anxiety going around with hybrid education options and wondering if your child can properly social distance in a classroom or hallway. Do not add on to this stress with car accidents if you can avoid them. Help your young driver understand not only the rules of the road, but also the expectations of a responsible driver. Remind your student that specific rules are in place just for his or her age group in an attempt to promote safety as they gain the experience they need to understand safe driving. Let's make the best effort to protect our kids not only from the dangers of the world, but also the dangers of the road.

About the Author

Christopher Keller

Christopher J. Keller is an experienced plaintiff's personal injury attorney.  He concentrates his practice in the areas of Wrongful Death, Auto, Truck, Train & Motorcycle Accidents and Premises Liability.  Before founding Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh, PLLC, Mr. Keller practiced personal injury ...

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