What restrictions do teen drivers have in California?

Southern California teens must successfully pass through a phased set of steps in order to receive full, unrestricted driving privileges.

Concerns about the dangers of immature teenage drivers on the road are shared by residents in San Diego, the rest of California and the rest of the nation as well. These concerns are valid as too many innocent lives each year are claimed in accidents involving teen drivers. It is for this reason that California and all other states have developed graduated approaches to licensing young drivers.

The National Institute of Health notes that California was a leader in the creation of Graduated Drivers' License programs. As outlined by the Governors Highway Safety Association, GDL programs require teens to meet certain criteria at different steps in order to finally drive sans restrictions. These programs have been shown to reduce auto collisions in which teen drivers are involved. All accidents including those with property damage only, injury or fatalities have been impacted.

Step one-the learner's permit

At the age of 15 and one-half years old, a teenager may apply for a learner's permit as long as they have completed a minimum of 30 hours of in-class driver's education instruction. The California Department of Motor Vehicles requires that permitted drivers always be accompanied by a supervisor such as a parent or other adult. This person must be over 24 years of age and be licensed to drive.

While holding a permit, a teen is required to drive 50 or more hours with adult supervision. At least 10 of those hours should be before dawn or after sunset. Additionally, six or more hours of driving with a professional instructor are to be completed.

Step two-the initial driver's license

After the necessary number of supervised and instructional driving hours has been met, a teen who is at least 16 years of age can apply for a driver's license. Once licensed, the teen no longer needs to be supervised while driving. However, there are other restrictions in place for the first year.

The teen is not allowed to drive after 11:00 at night or before 5:00 in the morning. Teenage passengers are only allowed with a teenage driver if another passenger 25 or older is in the vehicle at the same time?

Step three-unrestricted driving

After one year of restricted driving without incident, a teen is allowed to drive completely unsupervised, at any time of day or night and with any passengers.

Tips for accident victims

If an accident with a teen driver occurs, remaining calm is important. The teen driver will no doubt be flustered. Taking time to collect all information from the teenage driver is important. So too is contacting an attorney for help seeking appropriate compensation.