Teen Drivers in California
You’ll often hear about auto accidents on the news that involved a teen behind the wheel. It could range from a teen making an honest mistake that could have possibly caused a serious accident or a teen driver who has just caused a major traffic collision.
California laws regarding teen driving can be confusing to say the least. Understanding the times they can drive, or who they can drive or even where they are allowed to drive can be tricky. It’s important for parents and teen drivers to know these laws and follow them to avoid negative points on their newly acquired driving record. We hope the following information helps you to guide your teenager into becoming the type of driver you desire them to be. Remember, nothing leaves a more lasting impression on our children than leading by example.
Laws Pertaining to California Teen Drivers
In the year 2006, California activated a new set of laws for teen drivers. These laws made it so teens had restricted ability to engage in various acts behind the wheel. Along with the pre-existing laws the new laws were made to aid in the support of safe driving.
It used to be, a teen got their learners permit at 15-1/2 years old, drove around with their parents or guardians a few times a week, and six months later were handed a drivers license and they were free to go wherever with whomever they pleased, at their parents’ discretion that is.
Now once a teen hits 15-1/2 years old, they take a driver’s education course. They must be with a licensed instructor; this course however, does not provide the teen with any driving privileges. Six months later when your teen turns 16, they are able to go to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to apply for a provisional license only if they have completed the required Driver’s Education course.
All people must take and pass the DMV’s written driving test. Once they pass, they are granted a learner’s permit. After at least 50 hours of behind-the-wheel training and 6 months, the teen can go in for the driving portion of the test.
If a teen is 17-1/2 years old, they may request a provisional permit without completing drivers education courses. If a teen happens to wait until they are 18-years-old, they can obtain a driver’s license without getting a learner’s permit.
So Your Teen Has Their License, Now What?
Once your teen has successfully received their driver’s license, there are still some restrictions during the first 12 months.
- They may not have any passengers under the age of twenty in their car unless a licensed driver over the age of 25 is also present.
- They must not drive during the hours of 11:00 p.m. through 5:00 a.m.
There are Exceptions to the above Restrictions
- Medical emergencies
- School-related needs
- Employment-related driving
Teens can apply for exceptions. If it’s work-related, for example, the teen must keep an employer signed form in the vehicle at all times stating this exception.
These restrictions fall off when a teen reaches the age of 18 (or 12 months after the date the license was received).
Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a personal injury attorney in Sacramento. If you or someone you hold dear has been seriously injured in a car crash caused by a negligent party, please call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for friendly, fast, and free advice.
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Source of California Teen Drivers: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv
Image Attribution: Wikimedia Commons