As a parent or guardian of a young teenager anxious to begin driving you should let them know that driving an automobile is potentially one of the most dangerous regular or daily activities they will do. Here are some things teens should know before they begin driving:
- When you take the steering wheel in your hands you are controlling what can happen in your life and the life of others on the roadway.
- Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death among teenagers in the United States.
- Even a minor accident can severely hurt the occupants of a vehicle. Sometimes the damage to the vehicle is not an indicator of how injured a person may be inside the vehicle.
- An accident by a teen, whether or not it is the teenagers fault, will have an effect on the insurance coverage and potential insurance rates paid by the guardian or parent. Please drive defensively.
- A parent or guardian of a minor under the age of 18 may be liable and sued for the accidents caused by their teenager.
- Always yield to pedestrians, whether or not they are legally on the roadway.
- The driver of a vehicle is responsible and liable for any open alcohol or marijuana container in the vehicle, no matter if the driver is aware of the open container in an area accessible to the occupants. The driver of the vehicle, if the owner is not present, will receive the traffic infraction. See RCW 46.61.519.
- Instruction Permit: The the laws in the state of Washington for obtaining and operating a vehicle under 18 years of age with a learner’s or instruction permit:
(1) Driver's instruction permit. The department may issue a driver's instruction permit with or without a photograph to an applicant who has successfully passed all parts of the examination other than the driving test, provided the information required by RCW 46.20.091, paid an application fee of twenty-five dollars, and meets the following requirements:
(a) Is at least fifteen and one-half years of age; or
(b) Is at least fifteen years of age and:
(i) Has submitted a proper application; and
(ii) Is enrolled in a traffic safety education program offered, approved, and accredited by the superintendent of public instruction or offered by a driver training school licensed and inspected by the department of licensing under chapter 46.82 RCW, that includes practice driving.
(2) Waiver of written examination for instruction permit. The department may waive the written examination, if, at the time of application, an applicant is enrolled in:
(a) A traffic safety education course as defined by RCW 28A.220.020(2); or
(b) A course of instruction offered by a licensed driver training school as defined by RCW 46.82.280.
The department may require proof of registration in such a course as it deems necessary.
(3) Effect of instruction permit. A person holding a driver's instruction permit may drive a motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, upon the public highways if:
(a) The person has immediate possession of the permit;
(b) The person is not using a wireless communications device, unless the person is using the device to report illegal activity, summon medical or other emergency help, or prevent injury to a person or property; and
(c) An approved instructor, or a licensed driver with at least five years of driving experience, occupies the seat beside the driver.
(4) Term of instruction permit. A driver's instruction permit is valid for one year from the date of issue.
(a) The department may issue one additional one-year permit.
(b) The department may issue a third driver's permit if it finds after an investigation that the permittee is diligently seeking to improve driving proficiency.
(c) A person applying for an additional instruction permit must submit the application to the department in person and pay an application fee of twenty-five dollars for each issuance.
- Intermediate License: The laws in the state of Washington for obtaining and operating a vehicle under 18 years of age with an intermediate license:
(1) An intermediate license authorizes the holder to drive a motor vehicle under the conditions specified in this section. An applicant for an intermediate license must be at least sixteen years of age and:
(a) Have possessed a valid instruction permit for a period of not less than six months;
(b) Have passed a driver licensing examination administered by the department;
(c) Have passed a course of driver's education in accordance with the standards established in RCW 46.20.100;
(d) Present certification by his or her parent, guardian, or employer to the department stating (i) that the applicant has had at least fifty hours of driving experience, ten of which were at night, during which the driver was supervised by a person at least twenty-one years of age who has had a valid driver's license for at least three years, and (ii) that the applicant has not been issued a notice of traffic infraction or cited for a traffic violation that is pending at the time of the application for the intermediate license;
(e) Not have been convicted of or found to have committed a traffic violation within the last six months before the application for the intermediate license; and
(f) Not have been adjudicated for an offense involving the use of alcohol or drugs during the period the applicant held an instruction permit.
(2) For the first six months after the issuance of an intermediate license or until the holder reaches eighteen years of age, whichever occurs first, the holder of the license may not operate a motor vehicle that is carrying any passengers under the age of twenty who are not members of the holder's immediate family as defined in RCW 42.17A.005. For the remaining period of the intermediate license, the holder may not operate a motor vehicle that is carrying more than three passengers who are under the age of twenty who are not members of the holder's immediate family.
(3) The holder of an intermediate license may not operate a motor vehicle between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. except when the holder is accompanied by a parent, guardian, or a licensed driver who is at least twenty-five years of age.
(4) The holder of an intermediate license may not operate a moving motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device unless the holder is using the device to report illegal activity, summon medical or other emergency help, or prevent injury to a person or property.
(5) It is a traffic infraction for the holder of an intermediate license to operate a motor vehicle in violation of the restrictions imposed under this section.
(6) Except for a violation of subsection (4) of this section, enforcement of this section by law enforcement officers may be accomplished only as a secondary action when a driver of a motor vehicle has been detained for a suspected violation of this title or an equivalent local ordinance or some other offense.
(7) An intermediate licensee may drive at any hour without restrictions on the number of passengers in the vehicle if necessary for agricultural purposes.
(8) An intermediate licensee may drive at any hour without restrictions on the number of passengers in the vehicle if, for the twelve-month period following the issuance of the intermediate license, he or she:
(a) Has not been involved in an accident involving only one motor vehicle;
(b) Has not been involved in an accident where he or she was cited in connection with the accident or was found to have caused the accident;
(c) Has not been involved in an accident where no one was cited or was found to have caused the accident; and
(d) Has not been convicted of or found to have committed a traffic offense described in chapter 46.61 RCW or violated restrictions placed on an intermediate licensee under this section.
Has your teen been involved in a car accident? Call Buckley & Associates at (206) 622-1100 today for your free consultation with experienced Seattle car accident attorneys.
We serve clients throughout the Seattle area and the state of Washington from our offices in Seattle and Tacoma.