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Driving Safety Group Wants 16, 17 Year Olds Off Florida Roads

September 9th, 2008 by flanews

Car wrecks are the leading cause of death among teenagers, and a highway safety group is asking Florida and other states to raise the legal driving age from 16 to 18, but as Whitney Ray tells us, the idea of changing the driving age isnt getting support from the Governor.

Hear it Here: Raising The Legal Driving Age

Last year Ashlynne Feely depended on her parents for rides to and from school. Now Ashlynne helps her mom take her brothers and sisters to class.

She has three other kids as well so she was constantly taking us back and forth, and with me being able to drive I was also able to help her out, said Ashlynne.

If the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety had its way Ashlynne would have to wait before getting behind the wheel. The group wants Florida to raise the legal driving age to 18.

While teenagers wreck more often than any other age group, 18 year old drivers are the most dangerous. Theyre involved in more car crashes than 16 or 17 year olds. Sixteen year-old Savannah Kelly said 18 year old drivers can be a little too cocky.

There getting too confident in their driving. They think they can do so much. While 16 year olds are scared. They dont want to have their parents take away their keys, said Savannah.

Governor Charlie Crist said he was ready to driving when he turned 16.

I got my license when I was 16 years old and I enjoyed having it, so I dont see any need for a change, said Crist.

While teenage drivers face an increased risk of crashing, the biggest spike in fatal wrecks is among 21 year olds. In 2006, 42 people who reached the legal drinking age died on Floridas roads.

While state troopers say theyre main safety concern is drunk driving, the Florida Highway Patrol will soon launch a website to help teenagers become safer drivers.

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