No teenage son or daughter can wait for the day that her or she can drive or operate a motor vehicle. In Texas the laws change it seems almost yearly about how and when a minor can operate the family vehicle.
Three decades ago it was simply having a parent take their child down to the local Texas DPS license office, and pay for a learners permit, and when they became sixteen they would be tested for knowledge and on the road with an officer grading their ability.
Today teens have to jump through many administrative hoops to obtain even their learners permit. A class that consists of thirty hours of instruction must be taken and passed before even applying for a permit to get time behind the wheel with a licensed adult riding along with them.
The parent or guardian and the student driver must also agree in writing and sign a document that they are under the Zero Tolerance Law. This means even on the first occurrence of the student driver being pulled over by law enforcement, and they can detect that any amount of alcohol is in their body, their permit, or license will be taken away.
Before any of the above occurs the student must prove that they are in school, and show through proof of attendance records, and or hardcopy of their enrollment paperwork. If they have already received their high school diploma, or G.E.D then the previous will not be needed.
Of course, the normal vision test, and a written exam must be taken and passed to receive what is now called an instruction permit instead of a “learner permit”. This will be simply a piece of paper and not the standard photo ID the Class A licensed drivers receive.
This document will expire upon the student’s sixteen birthday in which time they will have to take the next steps in getting their “Graduated Drivers License”.
More driver education in the classroom and driving with an approved instructor will be required to obtain their drivers license. This will be called a Provisional Drivers License, and it comes with certain restrictions.
The first being a driving curfew for anyone under the age of 18 that restricts them from driving between the hours of 12 AM (midnight) until 5 AM the next that morning. There are exceptions to this rule, and they are:
1. Attending an official school activity.
2. If their job keeps them late due to scheduling.
3. In case of a medical emergency.
There is also the requirement to have the minimum State mandated auto liability insurance; even before the instruction permit can be issued to the student driver.
Recently, the Texas Legislature added some new laws regarding requirements
For drivers under the age of 18 years of age: No use of wireless communications devices such as texting on a smart cell phone, or WiFi enabled devices while operating a motor vehicle.
Teen drivers- are they ready?
At the risk of alienating some of my readers – I offer that teenage drivers are sometimes nothing short of a menace to themselves and others on the road. It truly is not their own fault because at one time or another we were all teen drivers taking to the open road for the first time and placing everyone around us at risk.
Perhaps there is no better rite of passage in life than getting a driver’s license placed in our hands as we turn 16. Along with this comes such a feeling of maturity as well as freedom unlike nearly anything else.
However, couple this with the natural sense of invincibility that comes with youth and it becomes immediately obvious that cars and teens can be a deadly combination.
The subject can simply not be overdone and is a timely topic as well because according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 101 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the most deadly season of the year for teenagers ages 15-20!
The higher teen fatality rate is generally attributed to teens having more “free” time during the summer months, leading to more driving opportunities and less adult supervision.
One state has created a list of the ten most deadly mistakes made by teenagers and offers suggestions on how to avoid them. They make for good reading and great reminders so tune in to our next blog in which we will review these tips.
And most importantly, make sure you spend a lot of time with your new driver before they drive themselves.
Teen Driving Tips
Valuable tips for teenagers as they take to the roads.
Parents – you cannot remind your teenagers often enough about certain dos and don’ts of driving.
Other than harping on them – the best you can do is hold your breath when they get in the car and hope you’ve hammered home safe driving suggestions that will ensure your child returns to you in good condition. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Don’t be a risk taker –Car crashes are the leading cause of injury and death for people ages 15 to 20.
2. Don’t forget to buckle up–About two-thirds of teens killed in vehicle crashes were not wearing safety belts.
3. Do NOT speed (this point cannot be repeated enough) –One-third of teen fatalities involve speeding.
4. Don’t be a rowdy rider– Adding one teen passenger to a vehicle increases a 16- or 17-year-old driver’s crash risk by about 50 percent.
5. Forget the cell phone –Talking on a cell phone while driving or texting can double or triple reaction time.
6. Don’t fiddle with your music machines –Research shows that adjusting the radio is the most common distraction for drivers between the ages of 16 and 20.
7. Cut out late-night cruising –Teen crash rates at night (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.) are twice as high as daytime rates. Obey parental curfews.
8. DON”T DRINK AND DRIVE –Of 16- to 17-year-old drivers killed in crashes, one in six would have been considered legally intoxicated by adult standards.
9. Don’t give in to peer pressure — Make good choices and don’t be afraid to “speak up.”
10. Try not to be overly confident — Inexperience and overconfidence can lead to crashes when new drivers encounter unfamiliar or unexpected situations.