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Parents can learn something from teen SUV-rollover in La Jolla

Late last month, a sport utility vehicle that was crammed with 16 teenagers lost control around a curve in La Jolla and rolled onto its roof. Five of the teenagers suffered injuries and were transported to hospitals; fortunately, none of the injuries were life-threatening.

The teenagers were reportedly heading back from a party at about 8:15 p.m. Oct. 26 when the rollover accident took place. Police said that the cause of the accident was likely the overcrowded vehicle - an SUV is designed to fit only seven people. In the aftermath of the crash, at least one lawsuit has been filed against the teenager who was behind the wheel, and many questions have been raised about California's provisional driver's licensing law.

California residents who are under the age of 18 have provisional driver's licenses for the first year that they are licensed to drive. Provisional driver's licenses come with a number of restrictions and one of these relates to the number of passengers allowed in a vehicle. Provisional drivers may not transport any passengers under the age of 20 unless there is a licensed driver over the age of 25 in the vehicle.

This rule is common in many states, as it is well-documented that young, inexperienced drivers become too distracted by having friends in the car.

So, while following the rules of provisional driving could have prevented this car accident in La Jolla, the accident is a reminder that many teen drivers and parents may not be aware of provisional licensing rules.

It is important that parents of teen drivers familiarize themselves with these rules, and that they hold their children responsible for following the rules. Teens who are caught in violation of provisional driver's license requirements may lose their licenses, among other consequences. In the worst case, a teen might injure him- or herself as well as others by failing to follow the rules and to drive responsibly.

Source:, "La Jolla Teen Accident Raises Questions about Licenses," Todd Strain and Christina London, Nov. 21, 2013

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