Laws In Arizona are Aimed at Preventing Car Accidents Caused by Teens
Driving is a privilege and with it comes great responsibility. For teens, it is the first real taste of freedom. However, according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) approximately 2,364 teen drivers were killed and many more were injured in 2017 alone. The biggest reason is inexperience. Teens are unable to anticipate and prepare for dangerous situations because they have not driven long enough to allow them to do so. Other risky scenarios include having friends in the vehicle, driving at night, and distractions such as cell phones and stereos. As a result, inexperienced teen drivers pose a threat to themselves and everyone else on the roadway. To help both teens and others stay safe, Arizona has implemented several laws aimed at teens when driving.
Teens on the Road
Before a teen can take to the Arizona roads, he or she must obtain a Class G Driver License. To get started, a teen must be at least 15 and 1/2 years old. He or she must pass written and vision tests. He or she must also have completed some driving experience requirements and have a “Graduated Instruction Permit.”
The teen must complete at least six months of driving with a permit, 20 hours behind the wheel with supervision during the day and 10 hours at night. After this time, and after successfully passing a driving test, a Class G or Graduated Driver License will be given if an adult signs the paperwork to allow it. However, the teen must be at least 16-years old in order to obtain the license.
If a teen chooses to drive a motorcycle, certain requirements must still be met. Teens that are at least 15 and 1/2 years old may opt to have a Class M Permit. It is good for up to seven months.
Restrictions and Penalties on Teenage Drivers in Arizona
Arizona has laws in place that restrict teens from doing certain risky things while they are first learning to drive. Arizona enacted the Teenage Driver Safety Act in July 2008. It is now Arizona law and the major parts are set forth in Arizona Revised Statutes Section 28-3174. It is designed to prohibit teens from engaging in activities and behaviors that increase their risk of accidents, resulting motor vehicle fatalities and other car accident injuries. These rules are for anyone driving a vehicle that is under the age of 18, during the first six months that he or she has a new driver’s license.
The major restrictions include:
- No Driving Between 12:00 AM and 5:00 AM (with certain limited exceptions)
- Only One Passenger Under the Age of 18 (unless the passenger is a sibling or accompanied by an adult)
- No Use of Wireless Devices/Cell Phones (unless used for GPS)
As set forth above, there are possible exceptions to these restrictions. The first two restrictions do not apply if a parent or guardian with a valid license is sitting beside the teenage driver. If a teen is caught violating these restrictions too many times, his or her license may be suspended. In addition, every time a teen driver is found to violate these rules, the six-month restriction period is extended.
Some cities may also have different restrictions for teens. In Scottsdale, teens are unable to drive between the hours of 10 pm and 5 am without adult supervision if under 16. If under 18, the restricted time is in effect Sunday through Thursday.
Breaking this “driving curfew” without good cause, means that the teen could be held at a police station, ticketed, fined, and sentenced to community service. Parents may also receive a citation for allowing their teen to be out during the night.
There are some “good cause” exceptions to the above driving curfew for teens. They include:
- Being Accompanied by Parent or Legal Guardian with a Valid License (Must be front seat passenger)
- Driving To or From Work (Between Home and Workplace)
- Driving Home after School, Religious Activities, Etc.
- In an Emergency Situation
These exceptions are set forth in Arizona Revised Statutes Section 28-3174(D)(1) and (2).
The Class M Permit for motorcycles, restricts driving to only daylight hours on highways. Teen drivers are not allowed to drive on controlled access highways. If under 18, before getting the Class M License, the teen driver must hold a permit for at least six months and take a motorcyclist education program that is MVD-validated. The teen driver may also have a parent/guardian certify in writing that the teen clocked 30 hours of practice time on their motorcycle. For the actual license, the teen driver will need to pass a driving test, have insurance and proof of insurance, a valid ID, and more.
In the event of an accident or property damage, which is caused by a teen driver, the parent or guardian who signed for that teen to have a license is held liable and responsible for payment. Especially if it was damage caused by willful misconduct and is not covered by insurance.
Insurance Requirements for Teen Drivers
Arizona’s laws on teen driving do require that the teen be covered by at least the minimum amount of liability insurance. This means that they have at least $15,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $30,000 per accident and $10,000 in property damage coverage per accident. However, this will change starting July 1, 2020 when the minimum amount of automobile insurance required will increase to $25,000 for bodily injury coverage per person, $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident and $15,000 in property damage per accident. A teen driver must also be able to prove insurance coverage. A failure to provide proof of insurance is a civil offense and means the driver could face a $500 fine as well as a three-month license suspension.
When to Seek Legal Help From a Scottsdale Accident Attorney
In the event that you have been injured in a car accident, it is important to seek legal advice whether there was a teen involved or not. We know how stressful it can be for the parent of a teen when a teenager is involved in a car accident. At Scottsdale Injury Lawyers, we are here to help. A Scottsdale car accident attorney is available now to provide a free consultation and advice regarding your car accident case. Contact us today.
About the author: The content on this page was written by Scottsdale personal injury attorney and civil rights lawyer Tony Piccuta. Piccuta graduated with honors from Indiana University-Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana (Ranked Top 35 US News & World Report 2018). Piccuta took and passed the State bars of Arizona, California, Illinois and Nevada (all on the first try). He actively practices throughout Arizona and California. He is a trial attorney that regularly handles serious personal injury cases and civil rights lawsuits. He has obtained six and seven figure verdicts in both state and federal court. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers for six years straight. He is a member of the Arizona Association of Justice, Maricopa County Bar Association, Scottsdale Bar Association, American Association for Justice, National Police Accountability Project and Consumer Attorneys of California, among other organizations.
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