According to the National Highway Traffic Association (NHTSA), motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States.Unfortunately, mile for mile, teens are in three times as many fatal crashes than any other age group. While there are many defensive driving programs available for teens, these startling figures help to illustrate the need for even more driver education for the youths of America.
Alabama’s Graduated Driver’s Licensing Law
Inexperience and immaturity have been acknowledged as the two main factors that often contribute to fatal teen crashes. These factors led the NHTSA to recommend that all states implement a Graduated Driver Licensing System (GDL) – encouraging parents of teenage drivers to make them aware of this system in the process.
Introduced in 2010, the Alabama GDL system eases teenagers into driving by reducing high-risk exposure – with the intention of keeping teens safe on the road by following Alabama’s GDL strict driving standards.
The following are requirements for Alabama’s teen drivers:
Stage I (Learner’s Permit):
- Drivers must be at least 15-years old.
- Teens must complete and pass the written examination.
- Teens can only drive with a parent, legal guardian, or a licensed driver over the age of 21. Also, they may drive with a certified driving instructor.
Stage II (Restricted License):
- Teenagers have to be aged 16 or older.
- Teens must also have the permission of a parent or legal guardian to receive a stage II driver’s license.
- Applicants must complete the road skills test with a passing grade.
- Teens can’t drive between midnight and 6 a.m. unless accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or a licensed driver over 21. Teens that are driving to work, a school or religious sponsored event or for a medical emergency are exempt from this provision.
- Drivers can’t have more than one passenger in the car unless it is a family member or legal guardian.
- Teenagers are not allowed to use any handheld communication device while driving.
Stage III (Unrestricted License):
- Applicants must be at least 17-years-old or older. Teenagers who are age 17 must have a Stage II license for at least 6 months or longer before applying for a Stage III license. Those who are 18 can immediately apply for a Stage III license, as long as the pass the road skills test.
It is important to note that according to a report released by the the DMV, there were over 90 deaths of young drivers on the roads throughout Alabama in 2008 alone. With this is mind, local law enforcement agencies are encouraged to actively police reckless teen driving and overall teen driver awareness.
Parental Driving Standards for Teen Driver Safety
The NHTSA suggests that all parents set driving rules for their teenagers and specify the consequences for breaking the rules. Below is a list of suggested rules:
- The driver and passengers must wear their seat belts at all times.
- Absolutely no alcohol is to be consumed while driving (besides it is illegal for anyone under 21 to drink alcohol)
- Talking on the cell phone or text and driving is prohibited.
- Limit how many people can ride in the car.
- Set a curfew for when your teenager must have the vehicle home.
Parents should still have driving rules for their teenager, even after they have received an unrestricted license. Remind your teenager that your rules and the Alabama driving laws are only meant to keep them safe.
Alabama Car Accident Lawyers
If your teen has been injured in a car accident, he or she may be eligible to file a lawsuit – even if they were the passenger. You and your dependent may be able to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages and property damage. At the Citrin Law Firm we can help you explore your legal options.
To find out how we can help, please call our firm at 251-888-8888. We service both Baldwin and Mobile Counties here in Alabama, and are ready to help you today.
Alternatively, for free assessment of your case, simply fill out the Free Case Review form on this page.