Teens are Less Likely to Get Driver’s Licenses in Recent Years

The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation has recently released driver age data that seems to indicate a steep decline in teenage drivers throughout the years. In about 35 years, the number of minor motorists with driver’s licenses plummeted by nearly 50%.

Percentage of drivers sorted by age group and year according to FHA data:

  • Age group: 16
    • 1983: 46.2%
    • 2008: 31.1%
    • 2018: 25.6%
  • Age group: 18
    • 1983: 80.4%
    • 2008: 65.4%
    • 2018: 60.9%
  • Age group: 20 to 24
    • 1983: 91.8%
    • 2008: 82.0%
    • 2018: 80.1%
  • Age group: 35 to 39
    • 1983: 94.9%
    • 2008: 91.7%
    • 2018: 90.9%

According to this data, about one-in-two of all 16-year-old teens in America had a driver’s license in 1983. Jump forward to 2018 and only one-in-four have a driver’s license.

What is Causing the Drop in Teenage Drivers?

America is certainly a car culture – or a motorcycle culture in some places. It can be difficult to find a job, attend higher education, and just get around town in most corners of the country without a motor vehicle and driver’s license. If being legally allowed to drive a car is so important, then why are so many fewer teens going through the DMV process to get a license?

There are a few theories as to why teens are less likely to drive today:

  • Economic hardship: When wondering why a popular trend fades away, a good statistical starting point is to examine the economy as a whole. Families today need to be careful where they spend their income, more so than in the early 80s. Spending money to get a car for a 16-year-old teen is simply not possible for many families, so the drop in young drivers is not entirely surprising. The data regarding the other age groups also support this theory. Adult drivers between the ages of 35 and 39 dropped 4%, which is a significant number when considering how many adult drivers there are and how many of them really need an automobile in their day-to-day lives.
  • Ridesharing: Teenagers might also be putting “get a driver’s license” on the backburner because of the advent of ridesharing apps. For only a few dollars, groups of teens can get rides to and from popular hangouts, like the mall or a concert. The cost split among them all makes using ridesharing even more affordable. Rather than going through the trouble to get a car and license without much necessity for either, teens have the choice to wait a bit longer without sacrificing mobility.
  • Stricter regulations: The laws regulating drivers have increased in strictness across the decades, especially when considering younger drivers. For example, teens today need to worry about getting ticketed or losing their driver’s license just for looking at their cellphone while behind the wheel, a problem that wasn’t even fathomable in 1983. A teen who could get a car and driver’s license might decide against it simply to avoid the stresses driving laws until they absolutely need a vehicle.

(You can learn more about the FHA research and data by clicking here and viewing an article from Statista.)

Hit by a Teen Driver? Call an Attorney

While 25.6% of teenagers don’t seem like a lot of teenage drivers on the surface, it is actually several million motorists. Teens have less knowledge about the rules of the road, understand less about how to control a vehicle in an emergency situation, and tend to be more distracted by smartphones when compared to older drivers. In other words, teenage drivers can inadvertently be a hazard on the road due to their young age and lack of experience.

If you get hit by a teenage driver, you should treat the car accident or motorcycle accident as you would any other crash. Collect contact information and evidence of liability before calling an attorney and seeing the doctor. You should not “go easy” on a teen driver because they did not know any better, as they may plead with you to do. A big part of being a driver on shared roadways is learning how to drive safely and responsibly. By bringing a claim against the teen drive that caused your accident, you could be teaching them an important lesson that encourages them to become a better, safer driver.

Need a car accident or motorcycle accident lawyer for your case in Clearwater, Florida? Call (727) 784-8191 to connect with The Fran Haasch Law Group. We offer free case evaluations to inquiring clients.

Clearwater Car Accidents Increase During “Snowbird” Migration

Every year, an influx of people enters Florida to escape cold weather in their home states. In Clearwater and throughout the Tampa Bay area, we call them “snowbirds.”

While flocking south, these seasonal guests patronize local shops and restaurants, giving our local economy a boost. Unfortunately, they also increase traffic, and contribute to a yearly spike in auto accidents in the Sunshine State.

From October to April, traffic in the Tampa Bay area is especially unpleasant. Many snowbirds are over 70 years old and present significant risks behind the wheel.

When elderly drivers congregate in one area, accidents are more likely to occur.

Why Are Snowbirds Dangerous Drivers?

  • Lack of familiarity with the area – Snowbirds only live in Florida for about 6 months every year. If they become lost, they may get distracted by cellphones and GPS devices.
  • Difficulty estimating distance – As eyesight fades in older individuals, so does their ability to drive safely. If someone is unable to judge distance, they may pull out into traffic and cause an accident.
  • Poor eyesight – In general, problems with vision make driving unsafe. If a snowbird cannot read a stop sign, for example, they may enter the intersection at an inappropriate time, or fail to see a child on the roadway.
  • Forgetfulness – Older drivers can forget the rules of the road, forget to signal and check their blind spot, or forget to yield the right of way. This is especially dangerous when pedestrians, bikers, or cyclists are on the road.
  • Slow reaction time – Driving under the speed limit can contribute to a crash, as can taking too long to respond to a potential hazard.
  • Serious medical conditions – If an elderly driver has dementia, they may be driving around aimlessly, even if it is unsafe to do so. Older drivers are also at risk of having a stroke or heart attack behind the wheel and losing control of their vehicle.

Steer Clear of Snowbirds

To keep yourself safe, pay special attention to your driving during winter months. Be sure to:

  • Always obey traffic laws
  • Stay alert
  • Keep an eye out for distracted or otherwise dangerous drivers
  • Limit distractions in your own vehicle
  • Be kind and courteous

If a snowbird cuts you off and you’re paying close attention, you may be able to prevent an accident.

In the event that an elderly driver plows into your vehicle, however, there’s not much you can do besides keep a level head and get evaluated for injuries.

If you are harmed in an accident with a snowbird, contact The Fran Haasch Law Group for assistance.

We are available 24/7 at (727) 784-8191 and offer free case evaluations. Get in touch today!

Homeowner’s Insurance Policy Exclusions

Have you ever been involved in a car accident or motorcycle accident only find out the exclusions in your insurance policy won’t cover the damage to your vehicle? Are you currently searching for a new homeowner’s insurance policy but worried you might encounter a similar issue? Although this type of insurance is supposed to provide you with important financial protection for your property, each policy contains exclusions and limitations that greatly impact the amount of coverage you will have when you need it most.

Most homeowners’ insurance policies offer two types of coverage:

  • Coverage for repairs or replacement of property caused by covered perils
  • Personal liability coverage for people injured on your property

The following are common examples of some of the things that might not be covered under a standard homeowners’ insurance policy:

  • Dog bite coverage
  • Animal coverage
  • Swimming pools
  • Inflatables/bounce houses
  • Trampolines
  • Carports
  • Porches
  • Screened sunrooms
  • Pool enclosures
  • Awnings
  • Dock and boat lifts

Unfortunately, many of the items listed above are usually the first to be damaged when a storm or another type of natural disaster occurs. The language of a homeowner’s insurance policy can be confusing if you are not a legal professional, and often, these agreements will disguise the events, causes, and disasters that won’t be covered under the policy by using complicated legal terms intended to confuse the policyholder.

Consult with The Fran Haasch Law Group Today

If you have questions about insurance coverage for your property, you should get in touch with our dedicated legal team at The Fran Haasch Law Group to discuss your situation. We are here to make sure you understand all of your options under the law so that your best interests are fully protected.

Call (727) 784-8191 to set up a free evaluationwith a member of our law firm today.

Self-Driving Vehicles Without Human Backup Allowed on Florida Roads

On July 1, 2019, a new law came into effect in Florida, which allows autonomous vehicles to operate on public roads without a human backup driver in the car. In June of 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law, saying that such a measure will allow the state to contribute to ever-advancing automotive technology.

Types of Autonomous Vehicles Covered Under the Legislation

The new law applies to vehicles with level 4 and 5 autonomous driving abilities. Depending on the area in which the car is being operated, a level 4 vehicle can travel without human input. Typically, a person can take control of the car when moving through surface streets. A level 5 car can operate on its own regardless of road or condition type. Both kinds of vehicles are still in testing phases.

Florida Becomes More Competitive

Allowing testing, and eventually operation, of high and full automation vehicles, will attract more autonomous vehicle companies to the state, making it a competitor with California, Arizona, and Nevada, which already allow such testing. Additionally, more lucrative job opportunities will be available in Florida.

Minimizing Accidents and Traffic

DeSantis said that permitting self-driving vehicles on the roads could cut back on the number of car accidents and decrease traffic. With various gadgets and apps easily accessible to drivers, many are distracted when they get behind the wheel. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 1,000 people are injured every day in distracted driving-related accidents.

Under the new law, individuals who have autonomous driving engaged on their vehicles will be exempt from hands-free statutes in the state.

Issues with Driverless Cars

Although the benefits are plenty with the new law taking effect, some see potential issues. Vehicle automation will take some human error out of driving, yet that does not guarantee they will be 100% safe. Collisions can still occur because of malfunctioning equipment. For instance, in 2016, a Tesla running on autopilot mode failed to brake when a cleaning vehicle came into its path, killing its 23-year-old passenger. In that same year, a Google Lexus backed into a bus as a result of a faulty system, which caused only superficial damage to the vehicle.

Under the new law, ride-sharing companies, like Lyft and Uber, that seek to take advantage of driverless technology on Florida roads will be required to have at least $1 million coverage for accidents resulting in death, bodily injury, and property damage.

Reach Out to The Fran Haasch Law Group for a Case Evaluation

As automotive technology continues to advance and more driverless cars appear on our streets, questions about accident liability are likely to arise. Determining negligence in such a collision depends on the facts of the case. Our lawyers will use their resources and skill to establish responsibility and seek fair compensation for damages.

Discuss your case with our attorneys by calling us at (727) 784-8191 or contacting us online.

Can I Get a Cash Advance on My Settlement?

Personal injury lawsuits can take a substantial amount of time, even when a case is strong and backed by solid evidence. If your injuries are severe, you might be facing some hefty medical expenses and are unable to work until you recover, which can put you in a tight financial position. Many accident victims wonder if it is possible to get a cash advance on their settlement during this time, which they hope to pay back with their settlement award. However, law firms are legally and ethically prohibited from providing cash advances or loans on settlements. No matter who you choose to work with, the law does not allow your attorney to give you a cash advance on your settlement. In some cases, attorneys might refer you to companies who provide these services, but be cautious about pursuing this type of loan or cash advance. The interest rates are unconventionally high and often unfair to consumers.

The Disadvantages of Lawsuit Loans

As much as you might need the cash, getting a cash advance or a lawsuit loan on your settlement might not be in your best interests. Generally, when you pay back your lender, you will pay back a funding fee or interest payment, in addition to the principal amount you owe. You could potentially pay back triple the amount you borrowed for the lender. Keep in mind that lawsuit loans are not regulated like most loans. With fewer restrictions, lawsuit funding companies have more freedom to charge exorbitant fees for their services.

Additionally, because these services are not heavily regulated, finding a reputable lender will be challenging and you might not find a company that will treat you fairly. Even if you do manage to find a reputable lender, not all lawsuits qualify for loans. Since you will only have to pay the lender back if you win, lenders only provide loans when they are confident you will be able to recover compensation. If you win less than the lender anticipated, you will also not have to pay back the full amount, which is why it is often a difficult task in itself to find a reputable lending company.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney at The Fran Haasch Law Group Today!

If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. At The Fran Haasch Law Group, our team is backed by more than two decades of experience and a history of proven success. We are also aware that this may be a financially difficult time for you, which is why we provide our services on a contingency fee basis, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries while we handle the rest. If we cannot win your case, you will not owe us any legal fees.

Call our law office today at (727) 784-8191 to learn more about your legal options. We offer free case evaluations. We are available 24/7 to take your call.

How Should I Provide My Attorney with Information and Updates?

Most people do not have a lot of experience working with attorneys, so if this is your first time dealing with a legal matter, you might need some pointers on how to provide your attorney with pertinent information regarding your case. Just as you can expect our team to answer your questions, address your concerns, and keep you updated as your case progresses, you will need to keep the lines of communication open on your end as well to ensure we have what is necessary to build the best possible case on your behalf.

Effectively Communicating with Your Attorney

When you work with The Fran Haasch Law Group, it is best for you to forward information to us by mail or facsimile. During your initial meeting with us, you will be provided with self-addressed, stamped envelopes. If you need more of these envelopes in the future, be sure to let us know. When mailing us information regarding your case, include your full name and return address, especially if you recently changed your address.

Oftentimes, you will have better access to certain types of information and records, such as your medical history, than any attorney, which is why you need to provide these documents as quickly as possible when requested. The legal world typically has tight deadlines and severe consequences for missing them.

It is also crucial to provide as much information as possible, even if you are unsure if it is relevant to your case. We might not use everything, but it is better to have an abundance of information rather than too little, and our team has the experience to sort out what is relevant and what is not. If there is anything you are ever unsure of or need further explanations for, remember that we are always a phone call away and ready to explain any of the more complicated details of your case.

Lastly, try to always respond to us quickly. We have our eyes on all of the deadlines that must be met for your case and will sometimes need your cooperation to ensure they are all met in a timely manner. If it is not possible for you to produce certain documents within the required timeframe, let us know and we will request an extension.

The success of your case is important to us, so you can expect The Fran Haasch Law Group to treat it with the attention it deserves.

Schedule a Free Case Review with a Personal Injury Attorney Today!

If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by negligence, reach out to the personal injury team at The Fran Haasch Law Group for the exceptional legal representation you need to succeed. With more than two decades of experience on our side, you can count on our ability to fight on your behalf for the compensation you deserve. You should not have to bear the financial burden of someone else’s mistakes.

Work with an experienced and compassionate team today! Contact The Fran Haasch Law Group at (727) 784-8191 to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our personal injury attorneys and learn more about how we can help you!

What Should I Do If I Move or Change My Telephone Number?

At The Fran Haasch Law Group, we are committed to delivering the best service possible to all of our clients at each stage of their cases. If you decide to move away, please inform us of your new address and/or telephone number as soon as possible after you have settled into your new location.

You may call the office, send the new information by mail, or send it to us via facsimile. Once you get in touch with our law firm, we will update your information in our system so you don’t miss out on any crucial information.

Do you have more questions for the dedicated legal professionals at The Fran Haasch Law Group? Then give us a call today at (727) 784-8191 to request your free case consultation. We are here to serve you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What is Vicarious Liability?

When someone is harmed due to no fault of their own, determining liability can become a tricky process if there is a 3rd-party involved. Vicarious liability refers to when a person or entity is responsible for another’s actions, and it most commonly applies to one of two scenarios. First, an employer may be responsible for the actions of a negligent employee. Second, a vehicle owner may be liable for the negligence or misconduct of someone who drives their car. Vicarious liability allows for the truly culpable parties to be held answerable, directly responsible or not. We explore these scenarios in further detail below.

Car Accidents

If a vehicle owner negligently entrusts their car to someone who neglectfully or recklessly causes injury to a 3rd party, the owner may be held liable. The key factor in these types of cases is proving the owner gave permission for the vehicle to be used, thus shifting responsibility. Common examples include if the owner knowingly lends the vehicle to a driver who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, without a valid driver’s license, or otherwise impaired.  

On-The-Job Accidents

Employer-employee relationships tend to be some of the most complex, legally speaking. If an employee behaves negligently or recklessly at work and harms another, his or her employer may be held liable for the incident. The following circumstances must be established in order to place liability upon a 3rd party:

  • The injury occurred while the employee was working for the employer
  • The employee was acting within the course and scope of employment

Outstanding Personal Injury Lawyers Committed to Your Best Interests

The Fran Haasch Law Group, we have spent many years providing our clients with the clever and diligent representation they deserve in their time of need. If you were injured or harmed due to the negligence or misconduct of another person, rest assured our personal injury attorneys are fearlessly willing to face the opposition on your behalf. Allow us to ensure your voice is heard and justice is served.

To reach a representative who will address your legal needs, call us at (727) 784-8191.