NEW LAWS FOR TEENAGE DRIVERS TAKE EFFECT
Did you know that car crashes are the second most common cause of death for teenagers in the state of Minnesota? There were over 6000 crashes involving a teen driver in 2013 alone – that’s over 16 crashes a day! Our MN car accident lawyers have handled many cases where a teen driver caused a crash because he or she was distracted, or just too inexperienced with driving.
The Minnesota Legislature passed a new law this year that increases the number of hours teenagers must spend behind the wheel before getting their drivers’ license. Now, when a teenager goes in to take the drivers’ test, he or she must submit a supervised driving log before taking the test. The log must show at least 50 hours spent driving under the supervision of a licensed driver at least 21 years of age, with at least 15 of those hours being at night. (The teen’s hours are reduced to 40 hours if the parent submits a certificate of completion of the new 90 minute parent class that is being offered.)
Once your teen does get their drivers license, make sure to remind him or her about Vanessa’s law. In memory of Vanessa Weiss, killed in a car accident just days before her 16th birthday in May 2003, Vanessa’s Law was passed a year later. Vanessa was a passenger in a vehicle driven by an unlicensed 15-year-old. Under Vanessa’s Law, a teen’s provisional license will be revoked because of an impaired driving crime or crash-related moving violation; they lose their license until they are at least 18 years old. If you commit these crimes as an unlicensed driver, you cannot even apply for a permit until you are 18.
Other laws important to a teenage driver are:
It is illegal for drivers under age 18 to use a cellular/wireless phone, whether handheld or hands-free — except to call 911 in an emergency. A new law has made it illegal for drivers of all ages to compose, read, or send text messages or access e-mail and the Internet on a wireless device while on the road.
For the first six months of licensure: Only one passenger under the age of 20 is permitted in the vehicle, unless the driver is carrying members of his/her immediate family or unless accompanied by a parent/guardian. For the second six months of licensure: No more than three passengers under the age of 20 are permitted, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The MN Department of Public Safety has a funny video explaining the new laws. You can check it out by clicking here.
If your teenager is injured in a car accident, or you are injured by a teen driver, please call us for a free consultation with an attorney. We will answer your questions and explain your rights. Our lawyers have helped many hundreds of people throughout MN get fair compensation from the insurance company and hold the driver accountable.