Ask a Trooper: What About Young Drivers?

When is law enforcement going to do something about the young drivers—it is getting dangerous out there?!

When is law enforcement going to do something about the young drivers—it is getting dangerous out there?!

Enforcement does change driving behavior but instruction needs to start long before a teen is pulled over, or worse, in a crash. Parents and guardians are responsible for spending the hours and hours needed driving, during the permit phase, with their teen. Only time spent can help them gain the experience in a vast variety of driving conditions and environments. A minimum of thirty hours driving is required while holding a permit and ten hours in the provisional phase, and it is often not enough. Instructional driving needs to continue until the new driver is ready and confident.

When the instructional [permit] phase is completed, and they have passed the appropriate testing, they will have earned their provisional license. Minnesota Graduated Drivers Licensing helps to minimize the risk of crashes, injury and death, by having teens hone their skills slowly.

During the first six months of provisional licensure driving is prohibited from midnight to 5 AM, with few exemptions. Furthermore, when driving they are allowed only one passenger, under the age of 25, that is not an immediate family member. During the second six months, no more than three passengers, under the age of 20, are allowed. Peer distraction can increase a teen’s odds of crashing exponentially.

A teen whose driving privileges are revoked, because of a crash or alcohol related event, will not be able to regain driving privileges until they are 18, or, if the penalty is longer after they are 18, but not before that age. Teens cannot use or engage with a cell phone in any way, including texting, during either of these phases. Teens are least likely to buckle up and tend to speed more than other age groups, the latter increases the odds of crashing, with both enhancing the severity of injury while creating a greater likelihood of death.

Crashes are the #1 cause of death and injury to our youth – instructing our youth is serious business.

Parents have the right to take away their teen’s drivers license and driving privileges at any time before they acquire their regular license. A teen getting a drivers license does not mean freedom to parents, it means time to get busy and make sure to minimize the risk.  


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