·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

News & Politics

Teen Driving Laws and Their Importance

— June 23, 2021

Driving can be hazardous when done without proper precautions. Make sure your teenager has learned everything that they need to know to be as safe as possible while on the roads!

Did you know that teen drivers are often considered to be the most reckless drivers on the roads?

While it is debatable if that assumption is based on fact or not, there is no doubt that teenagers have more to learn than drivers that have been licensed for many years. Drivers who have been on the road for some time can pull on that experience to make good driving decisions; teenagers are still learning how to properly analyze driving situations.

For that reason, there are several teen driving laws specifically set up to keep teenage drivers safe. Let’s talk about driving laws for teenagers and why they matter so much today.

Why Teen Driving Laws Matter

Teen drivers are known for being risky, which means that several teen driving laws are geared explicitly towards teenagers. Regardless of how well a specific teenager drives, that doesn’t erase the fact that car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers and young adults.

Teen driving laws exist to reduce risk and prevent accidents.

Learning Permit Rules

In many states, teenagers must get a learning permit before they are allowed to test for their driver’s license. Once they have their permit, they can drive vehicles as long as they are with qualified adults.

This time driving together serves as a time for the teenager to learn proper driving techniques. Teenage drivers may need to reach a specific number of hours driven with a qualified adult before taking their driver’s license test.

Most states lay out specific guidelines that must be met during these permit driving hours:

  • Driving in certain weather conditions
  • Driving at night
  • Driving on highways
  • Doing specific types of turns and parking

Additionally, there are often limitations on the number and types of passengers that may be in the car while a permit driver is in control of the vehicle.

Junior License

Some states give teenage drivers that pass their driver’s license test but are under 18 years old a junior license instead of a full-fledged adult license. While driving with a junior license, the teenage driver may have restrictions on where they can drive, what time they can drive, or how many passengers they may have in the vehicle.

These laws reduce the number of risky situations that teenage drivers will end up in by making them illegal.

Parent Rules

Beyond the rules of the state government, many parents set up specific rules that teen drivers must follow to be allowed to drive. These may include calling their parents at specific times, not driving anyone in the car without permission, and arriving home by a certain time.

Parents who take time to set up additional rules for their children can help teenagers understand the seriousness of driving and why they need to be so careful. Reiterating this is a great way to reduce the overall risk of teen drivers. 

What’s the Goal of Teen Driving Laws?

All driving laws that target new or teenage drivers aim to reduce the number of accidents that teenage drivers get into annually. High-risk situations can cause serious accidents for teens; teen driving laws act to minimize those high-risk situations.

Even the most trustworthy new driver has a lot to learn once they are behind the wheel. By requiring testing, practice hours, and various other things before teen drivers can be alone on the road, everyone on the roads will be safer.

Image by Chris Benson, via
Image by Chris Benson, via

State by State: Laws May Vary

Another thing that you must know about teen driving laws is that they will vary from state to state. Just as state governments set car insurance rules and driving laws, the rules that govern teenage drivers are set at the state level.

From the age that teenagers can begin learning to drive to when they can officially test for their license, state laws may vary. Ensure that you take time to research the specific rules in your state before setting your teenager up to start driving. Even if you grew up in the state, things might have changed since you started driving.

Making Sure Your Teen Driver is Insured

Do I have to add my teenager to my car insurance? While your teenage driver needs to be insured, they do not necessarily have to be insured on your car insurance. They may be able to get coverage on their own, but the rates will be very high. They could also be added to another adult’s insurance policy.

Most parents choose to add teenager car insurance to their expenses when their teen starts driving, as this is the most practical way to ensure that your teen is safe and protected while on the roads.

Safe Driving Ahead

Finding ways to further legislate safe driving is hard, but state governments do their best to ensure that teen drivers are given the guidance they need to drive safely. Focus on teaching the teenagers in your life how to be safe drivers, and don’t be afraid to make them practice more if you don’t feel they are ready to be licensed yet.

Driving can be hazardous when done without proper precautions. Make sure your teenager has learned everything that they need to know to be as safe as possible while on the roads!

Join the conversation!