In July 2018, a teen passenger was killed in a rollover crash while teaching another teen how to drive. MLive reported that neither of the teens were wearing seat belts when the driver, who was going too fast, lost control of the vehicle and it rolled. In another recent teenage car accident, The Detroit Free Press reported that a van full of 10 teenagers were driving on 1-75 and when the driver attempted to switch spots with another passenger as the van was still in motion, causing the van to roll. Two of the three passengers were ejected from the van. If these teen car crashes are anything to go by, it seems like teenagers are not the safest or most cautious drivers. In fact, The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA) recently stated on Instagram that, “teen drivers were 2.5 times more likely to engage in 1 or more potentially risky behaviors when driving with 1 teenage peer, compared to when driving alone.” Also, “the likelihood of teen drivers engaging in 1 or more risky behaviors when traveling with multiple passengers increased to 3 times compared to when driving alone.”
Teenage License Eligibility
Just because a teenager and their friends are bored on a Friday night and they find their parents’ car keys on the kitchen counter, doesn’t mean they can go for a joyride through the Taco Bell drive-thru. There are rules on who can drive!
According to Michigan’s Secretary of State (SOS), “if an individual is 14 years and 9 months and has successfully completed Segment 1 of an approved driver education program they may be eligible for a Level 1 Learner’s License. Level 2’s intermediate license can be earned if a driver is at least 16 years old, had a Level 1 Learner’s License for at least 6 months, and has successfully completed Segment 2 of an approved driver education program. Drivers should also have a parent, legal guardian, or responsible adult sign the application to certify the 50 hours behind-the-wheel driving experience. To be eligible for a Level 2 Full License, applicants must be 17 years old, have Level 2 License for at least 6 months, and completed 12 consecutive months without a moving violation, a crash in which a moving violation resulted, a crash, a license suspension, or a violation of the graduated license restrictions. These requirements end for all teens once they turn 18-years-old.”
However, just because teens are eligible to drive at 14 years and 9 months doesn’t mean they can just hit the road whenever they want. Michigan’s Secretary of State office has restrictions for Level 1 and Level 2 drivers.
Michigan Graduated Drivers License Restrictions
A Level 1 licensed driver:
1. May only drive with a licensed parent/guardian or designated licensed adult age 21 or older.
A Level 2 licensed driver:
1. Shall not operate a motor vehicle between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. except when:
Driving to or from or in the course of employment;
Driving to or from an authorized activity; or
Accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or a licensed driver 21 years of age or older designated by the parent or legal guardian.
2. Shall not operate a motor vehicle at any time with more than one passenger in the vehicle who is younger than 21 years of age except:
When the additional passengers are immediate family members;
When driving to or from, or in the course of employment;
While going to or from an authorized activity; or
When accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, or a licensed driver 21 years of age or older designated by the parent or legal guardian.
So, the teen driver who was teaching the other teen how to drive before they crashed, exhibited behavior that is illegal because according to the SOS rules, they are probably Level 1 drivers, and therefore must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or a licensed driver 21 years of age or older. Also, in Michigan, it is illegal for Level 2 drivers to operate a motor vehicle with more than 1 passenger in the vehicle who is younger than 21-years-old, which means the driver with 10 passengers was also driving illegally!
Forget keeping hands at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel! Teens seem more likely to have their hands in the air taking a selfie behind the wheel, rather than holding the wheel. Since teen drivers take so many road risks, it’s important for parents to speak to their kids about these dangers. The Michigan Law Firm, PC blog recently discussed some driving discussion tips for parents who have driving age teens. It always important to remind teens, and everyone, that driving is a privilege, not a right.
Seeing teenagers behind the wheel can be a scary sight for other drivers on the road. Risky behaviors can lead to car accidents and severe accident injuries. Teens who get into car crashes are scared to call their parents, but those parents may be terrified of dealing with car accident insurance claims. The car crash lawyers at The Michigan Law Firm, PC make the insurance process easier for car crash victims and their families, and work hard to recover car insurance benefits even when crash victims have been denied. Contact us at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.