Protect your teen's drivers license in Clarksville, TN

Protect your teen's drivers license

Bob Durham's Blog | Protect your teen's drivers license

Ask any teenager and they will most likely say that getting their driver's license is easily in the top five most important milestones. And with good reason.  It represents a whole new level for them. It's a step closer to adulthood. It's an accomplishment because it is not easy to get one.

Young drivers put hours, days, even weeks of study into getting that little plastic card. What they don't often consider is what goes into keeping it though. It's a rite of passage but it's not a right, legally or otherwise.

Tennessee addresses this with a graduated license  program. It is a multi-tier system designed to protect the young driver, as well as, the financially responsible adults in their lives. It starts out with the Learner's Permit. This entry level license comes with very specific restrictions. 

Permit holders MUST be accompanied by a licensed driver, at least 21 years of age, in the front seat. This is one of the first places where problems can arise. Many adults don't realize the age restriciton. Letting your 15 year old permit holder drive with their 18 year old sibling doesn't work. 

They can't drive between 10 pm and 6 am.  It doesn't matter if the parent or guardian tells them it is ok. In fact, strictly by the law, that adult can be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Goes without saying that seatbelts are mandatory for ALL passengers . What some may not realize is that this extends to car seats and boosters for those age 8 and under. Example: you are driving with your permit holder and they get pulled over for a minor infraction. You have an unrestrained 6 year old in the backseat. (I know, but it does happen) The permit holder now has to deal with the original infraction as well as a violation for the unrestrained child. 

Now, here's one that people just do not think about. ALL cell phone use is prohibited. Not just texting. Not just handheld. ALL usage is prohibited. You may be thinking, well, if it's handsfree, no one will know anyway. If it involves a traffic crash, one of the things that will happen is a subpoena for phone records. It will seem a bit extreme but if it comes to that point, and the driver told the investigating officer that they weren't using a cell phone, they could also face an additional  charge. In Tennessee that would be making false statements in an investigation. It's a felony. It could also apply to other occupants of the vehicle if they were caught covering for the driver.

Some of what I have mentioned here may seem harsh, but let's be honest, brand new drivers have tons going on. And that rite of passage can be a great and fun experience or it can go wrong. Make sure that you are preparing your teens for the great and fun experience. You are protecting them and yourselves.




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