Laws Against Underage Driving

By Matthew Suedkamp
Underage driving is illegal and dangerous.

police car up close image by Aaron Kohr from Fotolia.com

Driving is a privilege every state takes seriously. The state regulates the minimum age a person must be to get a license to drive. In a majority of states, that age is 16. The state also regulates the amount of training to get a license. In California, the regulations for obtaining a driver's license are strict to ensure new drivers have as much training as possible.

Requirements

To receive a driver's license, applicants must meet the demands of the state department of motor vehicles (DMV). The DMV in California requires prospective drivers under 18 years of age take a drivers education course, a minimum of three behind the wheel sessions with an instructor, and have had a provisional permit for at least six months. Furthermore, the prospective driver must pass a written exam and a field driving test to receive their license.

Risks

Driving without a license is a tremendous risk. Insurance companies do not cover vehicles driven by persons without a license. If an unlicensed driver is in an accident, they are liable for all damage and injuries. Driving without a license can lead to your arrest, and impounding of the car being driven. In California, driving without a license requires the police tow and impound your car for 30 days. This can lead to fees in the thousands just to get the vehicle back, in addition to the fines levied by the court if you are found guilty.

Punishment

The court system is not lenient toward unlicensed, underage drivers. Judges in California can fine defendants up to a maximum of $1,000 and can levy up to 30 days in jail. Furthermore, if the driver is underage, they can prevent the defendant from receiving a license until they turn 21-years-old. Subsequent violations bring larger fines and longer jail terms.

About the Author

Matthew Suedkamp started writing professionally in 2007. He is a law enforcement professional and an automotive and electronics enthusiast. He has been published in the newspaper for the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.

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