Now is the time of year when many families in the greater Phoenix area begin the frenzied march towards the holidays. Kids are gearing up for Thanksgiving break from school and many adults will enjoy holiday time away from work. More time with a family often provides an opportunity to look forward into the future, and at this time of year, the future for many includes new drivers becoming licensed to drive on their own.
While teens have birthdays year-round, many choose to take driver’s education classes through local high schools which run them either concurrently with a school semester or during the summer months. At this time, 21 high schools in Maricopa County alone offer driver’s education services to their students which means that hundreds of additional, brand-new drivers could be taking to the roads any day.
If you are the parent of a teenager, you may give extra thought to the safety of these teens when behind the wheel as it can present a real issue in your household. If you are not the parent of a teen, though, you should still be aware of issues surrounding teenage motorists as their actions can have a direct impact on the safety of all those on the road, including those in other vehicles.
First, it is important to note that teens can legally drive prior to their 16th birthday. The first step to becoming a licensed driver in Arizona is to apply for a driver’s permit, also called and instruction permit, and teens can do that once they are 15 years 6 months of age or older. In addition to the age requirements, teens must pass a written and a vision test before receiving their permit. With a permit, teens can engage in the mandatory six hours of learning instruction that happens behind the wheel of a vehicle with a certified instructor as well as participating in a mandatory 30 hours of classroom learning. If teens do not wish to participate in a public education program, they can opt to participate in a private course with similar requirements or they can participate in driving practice with a parent or guardian instructing them.
All of this must happen before a teen can get a Class G provisional license, then a Class G graduated license, and then a Class D operator’s license at or after a teen’s 18th birthday.
Those who have their first teenager going through the process now or who are new to the Phoenix area may be surprised by the many steps that have to happen between the time a teen begins to drive and the time she is fully licensed to do so like any other driver on the road. These steps have been incorporated into the process over a number of years and in response to the biggest threat that is faced by new drivers: the potential to be involved in a car accident.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teens ages 16-19 are at a higher risk for being involved in a car accident than any other group of drivers. When a crash does occur, there is a good chance that someone will be injured as 243,243 teenagers were treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to car accidents in 2013 alone. Additionally, 2,163 teens lost their lives in accidents in 2013, forever altering their families, loved ones, and friends.
If you live with a teenager who is or who will be driving, experts agree that a complete education is the best way to limit the odds of a teen car accident taking place. This means making sure your child attends all classroom sessions of a driver’s education program as well as any scheduled behind-the-wheel driving time. Once your teen is legally allowed to drive with you in the car, ensure that she gets the hours required by Arizona law and that some of the learning takes place during nighttime hours. Further, impress upon your new drivers the responsibility that comes with operating a vehicle and the fact that even a minor mistake can turn deadly in a second.
If you were injured in a car accident involving a teenage driver or if your teen was harmed in a crash, call the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. for a free case consultation about your legal options and what options for relief may exist for you. We know that Phoenix residents have busy lives so we keep a lawyer available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call and to help you with guidance. You can reach us toll free at (855) PHX-LAWYER, locally at (602) 819-5191, or online. There is no obligation for speaking with us and if we represent you in your case, we will never charge you a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf.
The legal team at Abels & Annes, P.C. has been fighting for the rights of victims for years and we are ready to fight for you as well.
Prior Blog Entry:
Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems Can Prevent Car Accidents, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published November 19, 2015.