News organizations report stories of teens that have been seriously injured or killed by other teens while driving. The question that many people ask after such tragedies is “what can we do to help prevent this from occurring?” Teen drivers today are subjected to far more rules and regulations than previous generations, yet they still face a very high likelihood for injury when they get behind the wheel of a car. While no one can ask for a “magic number” of regulations that will protect teens from all potential harm, there are steps that can be taken to ensure that teen drivers are fully aware of their rights and responsibilities while driving.
Lawmakers have taken a multi-stage approach to the licensing of teen drivers. The first stage involves what is commonly known as a “learner’s permit.” When a teen is between 15 and 16 years of age, they may obtain a permit that authorizes them to operate a motor vehicle with the supervision of a licensed adult. In order to be issued a permit, the teen must prove that they have taken at least 30 hours of classroom instruction, six hours of actual driving instruction and six hours of observation while acting as a passenger. Once a teen driver turns 16, they will be able to obtain a probationary driver’s license, which permits them to drive alone. Some restrictions apply for the first nine months, such as a nighttime curfew and limits on the number of passengers. After nine months, the restrictions are removed, but the teen’s license is still considered a probationary license and the teen will not be able to obtain a full license until the age of 18.
This approach is intended to provide teen drivers with increasing levels of experience and exposure to driving on Wisconsin’s roads and beyond. These laws are designed to help teens become familiar with common hazards as well as unexpected issues that arise when navigating the various roadways throughout the state. What is missing from this regulatory scheme, however, is information that tells teens what to do if they are involved in a car accident.
Teen Drivers and Auto Accidents
Despite the differences between the regulations placed on teen drivers in today’s regulatory world and those placed on generations prior, automobile accidents still occur. When a teen driver is involved in an accident, the laws protecting their rights and providing for recovery apply to them as much as they do adult drivers. It is important for teens to understand what to do in the event an accident occurs while they or a friend is behind the wheel. Merely because they are under the age of 18 does not mean that they are liable for all damages that occur when they are behind the wheel.
If your teen has been injured in a car accident, call the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. today and speak to a knowledgeable attorney in Waukegan. Our professionals understand the unique pressures placed on teens while they drive and can help them obtain the relief they are entitled to under the law.