Despite targeted safety campaigns, motor vehicle crashes are still the
leading cause of death for U.S. teens. In fact, six teens ages 16 to 19
die every day from collisions on our roadways.
Studies have shown that in addition to higher rates of distracted driving,
many teens engage in aggressive driving behaviors and neglect to follow
the basic rules of the road. Of course, inexperience alone also contributes
to a high percentage of teen driving crashes.
To help keep new teen drivers safe, many states have graduated driving
license (GDL) laws, which restrict when a teen may drive and who he or
she can ride with. Studies have confirmed that these laws can reduce crash
rates among new teen drivers by 43 percent.
In California, during the 12 months of licensing or until the age of 18,
teens are subject to the restrictions of a provisional license. That means
they can't drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. In addition,
they can't have any passengers under 20 years old in the car, unless
a licensed driver over 25 years old is also in the vehicle.
California’s GDL program only covers first-time teenage drivers who
are 16 or 17 years of age. Accordingly, first-time California teenage
drivers who are 18 or 19 years of age are not required to complete California’s
To further address teen driving safety, California lawmakers are considering
further strengthening the state’s GDL laws.
Assembly Bill 63, which was recently introduced by California Assemblyman Jim Frazier (D-Oakley),
would expand the scope of the provisional licensing program to new drivers
under 21 years of age.
"Eighteen- and 19-year-old drivers — new, first-time drivers
— have a crash rate 60 percent higher than 16- and 17-year-old drivers
that have gone through the provisional license program," Steve Barrow,
a spokesperson for the California Coalition for Children’s Safety
and Health, said in support of the bill. "Their crash rate is incredibly
high and incredibly dangerous."
To decrease the burden on teen drivers, the proposed law would authorize
a licensee who is 18, 19, or 20 years of age to keep in his or her possession
a copy of his or her class schedule or work schedule as documentation
to satisfy the exceptions for a school or school-authorized activity and
employment necessity. It would also provide that a signed statement by
a parent or legal guardian is not required if reasonable transportation
facilities are inadequate and the operation of a vehicle by a licensee
who is 18, 19, or 20 years of age is necessary to transport the licensee
or the licensee’s immediate family member.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a California car
accident caused by a teen driver, don’t hesitate to contact
a personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free
consultation. Relying on more than 30 years of legal experience, we are
dedicated to protecting the rights of California injury victims.