Law Review; New bill targets teenage drivers
Teenagers who turn 16 after July 1, 1998, are subject to new driving rules under the Brady-Jared Teen Safe Driver Act of 1997.
The act, authored by our own state Sen. Tim Leslie, responds to uncomfortable statistics documenting that while teens comprise only 4 percent of licensed drivers, they are the drivers in 9 percent of all fatal crashes and 10 percent of all injury crashes.
Sixteen-year-olds have the highest percentage of crashes involving speeding and single vehicles. Those statistics will only get worse, according to Leslie, with the emergence of “baby boom echo,” the result of children being born to “baby boomer” parents. By the way, Brady Grasinger and Jared Cunningham were both killed in accidents involving cars driven by teens.
Here are the key points of the bill:
Before a 16-year old is granted a provisional license, he or she must have held an instructional permit for a minimum of six months. The parents must certify that their child spent a minimum of 50 hours of supervised practice behind the wheel, including 10 at night. That’s 20 more than is required now.
For the first six months after obtaining a provisional license, a novice driver cannot transport other teenage-or-younger passengers – unless accompanied by a licensed driver at least 25 years old.
For the first 12 months after obtaining a provisional license, the novice driver cannot drive between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by a licensed 25-year-old driver. There are (exemptions) for the night-time driving restriction, including driving to and from work or school-related activities, medical necessity and a family exemption. The family exemption gives the parents the final say on whether their teen should drive between midnight and 5 a.m., or whether their teen should be driving other under-age family members.
The bill provides that law officers may not stop a vehicle for the sole purpose of determining whether the teen driver has violated the night-time or passenger limit driving restrictions.
A teen’s provisional license will indicate whether or not he or she is subject to the Brady-Jared bill’s driving conditions.
Teens found by the court to be in violation of the driving conditions will be subject to community service or a fine of no more than $35 for the first violation and $50 maximum for repeat offenses.
The bill received incredible support from a wide variety of individuals and groups, including Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, Parent Teachers Association and the California Teacher’s Association. It was signed by the governor last month.
If you would like a copy of the bill, please call the office.
Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon, with offices in Truckee and Reno. He is also a mediator.
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