Getting Real With Shadra Bruce
If you’re the mom of a new driver, it’s important to know your state’s rules for teen drivers. While most states make some sort of special provision for teen drivers, not all states hold the same provisions. Some states are more strict than others when it comes to ensuring that your teen is ready to get behind the wheel. Variables such as requirements to obtain a learner’s permit, rate of increase of insurance premiums for teen drivers, instance of accidents involving teen drivers, and availability of appropriate educational materials are important in understanding how your state approaches teen driving.
1. New Jersey: Better Education = Better Drivers
New Jersey tops our list because the state offers outstanding programs for teen drivers. Teen learners must log at least six months of on-the-road driving experience under authorized supervision before they become eligible to advance to the next level of graduated license. This allows ample time to focus on any particular skill areas that need improvement before the teen driver emerges onto the open road.
Another useful tool for potential teen drivers and their parents is the New Jersey permit practice test. By ensuring access to necessary materials, teen drivers in New Jersey acquire the knowledge they need to safely operate a motor vehicle.
2. Colorado: Stricter Guidelines = Lower Insurance
Colorado offers an all-around robust teen driving program. Many states impose a process whereby teen drivers gradually accrue more and more freedom when driving as they mature as drivers between ages 15-18. In Colorado, in addition to requiring teen drivers to hold their learner’s permit longer and with greater supervision, teen drivers must keep a driving log, according to Colorado.gov. Each teen’s log must be signed, dated, and submitted for review before a teen driver may advance to the next level of graduated license. Having more stringent requirements explains, in general, why insurance premium markups are lower in Colorado than elsewhere.
3. California: Legal Parental Responsibilities = Fewer Irresponsible Drivers
In California, a parent must legally authorize a teen driver before they can obtain a learner’s permit. If you feel like your teen driver demonstrates less than responsible driving behavior, you may revoke his/her authorization anytime by submitting such a request. This effectively cancels any permit or license held by the teen at that time.
By giving parents responsibility and authority, the State of California laws ensure a continuity between the teen driver who is learning appropriate behavior and the parent or guardian who is legally responsible for that driver. This may explain why teen drivers in California are generally involved in fewer roadway incidents and fatalities. When parents are held legally responsible, this helps to underscore their role in making their teen the safest driver possible.
Parents and Drivers
In the U.S., each state is responsible for its own teen driving rules and regulations. New Jersey, Colorado, and California top our list of top-notch states for safe, effective teen drivers. In these states, the systems give applicants the best chance of safe and responsible driver education—leading to safe and responsible and vehicle operation.
No matter what state you live in, parental involvement and accountability are keys to keeping your teen driver safe. You are the first line of defense for your teen driver, so talk with them, work with them, and continue to monitor their progress in the months and years ahead.