young-driverIs your teen eager to get his or her driver license? Summertime is a great time for teens to learn how to drive and to get their driver licenses. A teen getting their first car is also a pretty memorable moment. However, getting a car means a lot of responsibility and that kind of responsibility includes understanding the rules of the road and driving safety.

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), the three months between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the most fatal time period for traffic accidents—they are also known as the “100 Deadly Days.” During the summer, the death rate of traffic accidents was 15% higher than usual. In the past six years, more than 1,600 adolescents have died from traffic accidents during this 100 day period. 90% of these accidents are due to distracted driving from cell phone usage, forgetting to fasten their seat belts, and speeding.

It’s important for parents to teach their kids the cautions of driving as well as how to stay safe on the road. We’ve summarized three of the main points every parent who has a teen must know!

Getting Your Driver License 101

According to California state law, if you are under 18 and at least 15.5 years of age, then you can apply for a provisional driver license. At this age, it is also common for young drivers to start taking driver’s education courses as well as driver’s training courses that are DMV approved. The DMV allows teens from age 15 – 17 to apply for a provisional instruction permit. But before doing so, they must complete at least 30 hours of driver education, or complete at least 6 hours of professional driver training. If you are over 17.5, then you do not need to take driving classes to apply for a license, but you must wait until you turn 18 to take the driving test for your license.

In addition to completing the training course and applying for the provisional license, you will also need to prepare specific documents, documents signed by a parent or guardian, pass a vision test, and pass the written test.

If you are 16 years old and already have a provisional instruction permit for more than six months, completed the driving course, completed six hours of driver’s education at a driving school, and practiced driving 50 hours on the road, then you are eligible to apply for your driving test. At this time, you’ll need to provide proof of auto insurance, and if you pass, then you’ll receive a temporary driver license. The 50 hour driving on the road practice must be accompanied by an adult over the age of 25  with a valid driver license, and 10 of those hours must be practiced at night time.

With a provisional instruction permit, when you are driving, you must be accompanied by an adult over 25 years of age with a valid driver license. He or she must sit in the passenger seat so that in case of any emergency, they can take control of the car at any point in time, if necessary. It is illegal for you to drive alone at any time.

There are strict restrictions on getting a provisional license early. For those under the age of 18, you may not take any passengers under the age of 20 unless you are accompanied by a parent or guardian, instructor, or licensed driver over the age of 25, and even then, you may not drive between 11pm and 5am.

The above information is for reference only. Please refer to www.dmv.ca.gov for more details.

Drive Safe and Be Responsible

Many auto insurance companies, as well as the DMV, have come up with a “Drive Safe Agreement” as a part of the “Drive Safe Challenge” where parents and their children sign a contract challenging themselves and agreeing to specific guidelines.

For example, parents would agree to be positive role models for their young driver and pledge to never use their cell phones while driving. An example for the child could be to never drink and/or use drugs while driving.

In addition to these, parents also need to remind young drivers of driving safety and responsibility:

1. If your reason for speeding is because driving at the speed limit is “not cool,” that is never an okay reason to speed. Teens often lack driving experience and miscalculate the distance that is needed to brake safely.

2. Distracted driving is the number one cause of fatal car accidents, whether it’s using their phone, eating breakfast, doing make-up, picking up something, choosing a song or station to listen to, and many more. Any action that takes your eyes off the road is dangerous and distracting!

3. Just because the roads are empty, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use your blinkers when making a turn. Always use your blinkers when changing lanes and make sure to look back at your blind spot to make sure cars are not present.

4. Maintain a safe distance between cars

5. Always wear your seatbelts

6. Lack of driving experience may cause young drivers to overreact and suddenly hit the brakes, creating an even more dangerous situation.

7. Do not drive when you’re tired

8. Talking to your friends in the car while driving can be very distracting! It’s more distracting than you think

9. Aside from choosing a car that is safe, it’s generally not recommended to choose a car that has too much horsepower because it can be hard to control

Auto Insurance 101

If a driver is at fault and injures another person, not only is the driver responsible, but the driver’s parents may also be subject to a lawsuit. If the child is underage or if the car is still under the parent’s name, it is recommended to purchase an auto insurance policy with a higher premium and simultaneously buying it with your home insurance policy adding an umbrella insurance policy.

To avoid risks, some parents choose to transfer the ownership of the car to their children’s names after they become adults. Their auto insurance would also be separate, which also helps teens learn to be responsible for themselves. If you are worried about high premiums, you can choose to increase your deductibles, get good grades in college, and apply for student discounts.

Many parents also wonder how they can buy auto insurance for their child who is under 18 after passing the driving test at the DMV. Typically, parents add their children under 18 to their parents’ auto insurance policies, but the rates and regulations of different insurance companies vary. KCAL Insurance Agency experts advise parents to communicate with their auto insurance brokers and ask them questions regarding premiums for minors and how much they should add. If it does not increase now and the child gets their driver license at 18, will there be any changes?

KCAL Insurance Agency represents many A-rated insurance carriers, providing clients with comprehensive coverage for the entire family at low prices. With over 30 years of auto insurance experience in Southern California, KCAL is familiar with auto insurance for young drivers. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 626-333-1111.