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It can be really exciting to be a teenager with a brand new driver’s license. The freedom and mobility is amazing, and you as a parent are probably relieved that you won’t need to take your child everywhere they need to go in their busy lives. You’re probably also worried about distracted driving. You won’t be able to protect them forever, so who will?
Automobile crashes are a leading cause of death in teens, and the risk of getting into a crash increases nearly four times when the driver is using a phone. On July 1st, 2015, Indiana passed laws aimed at preventing distracted driving in young drivers. While there was already a state-wide ban on texting behind the wheel, these laws took the prevention of accidents a step further: New drivers under the age of 21 are banned from using any telecommunication device except for emergency 911 calls. This includes cell phones as well as hands-free devices like Bluetooth; the conversation is what’s distracting, not the fact that there’s something in the driver’s hand.
In addition to the rules about cell phones, there are other restrictions on young drivers in an attempt to eliminate distractions and car crashes. The only people who can ride with a young new driver that are themselves under 21 are siblings, children, or a spouse. Nighttime driving for drivers under 18 is restricted as well: From Sunday through Thursday and into the following morning, young drivers cannot take the wheel between 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. There’s also no teen driving between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings except for school, work, or a religious event.
It’s not all rules, though. The good news for young drivers fresh out of driver’s education is that they’re eligible for probationary licenses sooner. If your teen has completed an approved driver’s education course, he or she can get a driver’s license by 16 and 90 days old—90 days sooner than previously allowed. It’s required that teens hold a permit for 180 days and complete a 50-hour supervised driving log with a qualified instructor—a licensed driver who’s related to the young driver and over 25 years of age, or a spouse of the driver that’s licensed and at least 21.
If your teen has been in an accident in the Indianapolis area, get in touch with an experienced car accident attorney at WKW today. You can call us directly at 317-920-6400 or fill out the contact form below to schedule your free consultation.