Start of school has teen drivers, parents on edge

FHP: Non-fatal accidents peak between June-August

ORLANDO, Fla. - Central Florida's teen drivers are at a higher risk of being involved in an accident between June and August than the rest of the year, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

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That puts teen drivers under additional pressure with the start of the school year unfolding this month.

The FHP reports there is a pattern that coincides with the summer months for drivers between the ages of 15-18.

In 2012 teen drivers were involved In 1,285 non-fatal accidents between June and August.

Last year was even worse with 1,310 non-fatal accidents reported for the same three-month period.

From September to November the FHP reports incidents involving teen drivers drops by almost half.

Last year in Orange County, accidents involving teen drivers dropped from 732 in the summer to 509 from September to November.

Susan Curschman has been teaching her 17-year-old daughter Erica to drive for the past year.

Next week, with start of school, she will be one of hundreds of teen drivers behind the wheel without a co-pilot for the very first time.

"It's the first year that I worry about," the mother of three says." I'm trying to prepare her for the first year and I feel the only way that I can do it is to her have her be a defensive driver."

Erica will be driving to Bishop Moore High School and that means she will be taking the 408.

She says she will be taking a few test runs to school but admits it will be unsettling being behind the wheel by herself.

"Just being able to know the different speed signs and stuff is like something I'm going to be scared to do," she says.

Erica took advantage of the drivers training provided by the Florida Safety Council.

The three two-hour sessions are offered at no charge in Orange and Polk counties.
Glenn Victor, the spokesman for the Safety Council says the road training offers a solid foundation but it's not enough.

"We can teach them basic fundamentals," Victor says. "But it's up to the parents to continue the lessons."

Driving aside, the other big issue is the type of car parents provide for their kids.
Erica wants a small car, possibly a 2012 Honda Civic.

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