It’s well known that young/new drivers cause more car accidents than older more experienced drivers. Not only are these teen drivers putting others at risk, they are also putting themselves at a great risk. Teen drivers are more likely than any other age group to be involved in a car accident and 3 times more likely than older drivers to be in a fatal crash. In addition, a recent study found that distracted driving among teens is much more prevalent than previously believed. The study showed that distraction was a factor in 58% of all teen crashes and 12% were caused by cell phone usage. With that and the fact that car accidents are the leading cause of death among teen drivers in mind, many states have begun to crack down on distracted driving and teen driving. Indiana, as of July 1, 2015 has followed suit, amending Indiana’s New Driver Laws to be more inclusive and stringent.
What exactly do these new driver laws say? Your Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer is here to explain exactly that. Below is a breakdown of the changes the newly implemented amendments bring.
Code § 9-24-3-2.5
First, some good for young teens who can’t wait to gain their driving independence. The age limit for receiving a Driver’s license has been changed from 16 years and 180 days (6 months), to 16 years and 90 days (3 months) if they have had a learners permit for 180 days, completed a Driver’s Education course, passed the licensing exam, and completed 50 hours of supervised driving practice with a licensed blood relative who is older than 25, a licensed spouse who is older than 21, or a licensed driver education instructor.
If the individual does not complete a Driver’s Education course they must wait until they are 16 and 270 days (9 months). This is meant to encourage new drivers to take Driver’s Education courses as these courses are shown to substantially improve compliance with driving laws among new drivers.
Code § 9-24-11-3.3
Now, the restrictions begin. Many teens and drivers under 21 will likely see them as a negative because they won’t be able to SnapChat their first independent driving selfie, respond to the text they just received and can’t possibly wait 5 minutes to respond to, or watch the cool YouTube video their buddy just sent them. For anyone who is sharing the roads with these young drivers these restrictions should be overwhelmingly accepted.
Section (b) has been amended so that any driver’s license issued to a person under the age of 21 will have a probationary license. Previously only those under 18 had probationary licenses. This makes it so that all probationary license restrictions listed below apply to any driver under the age of 21.
Second, section (b)(1) provides that for the first 180 days a person holds a probationary license they may not drive without a licensed driver in the passenger-front seat from the hours of 10 PM – 5 AM. This section goes on to say that from the time the 180 days passes the individual is still not permitted to drive between 1 AM – 5 AM on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and between 11 PM – 5 AM Sunday night through Friday morning until they turn 18. This section also provides an exception if the individual is going to or returning from their job, a school activity, or a religious event.
Third, and most importantly, section (b)(4) makes it so that any driver under 21 will not be allowed to use their phone while driving for any purpose, except for calling 9-1-1 in the case of an emergency.
These newly amended young driver laws should help to decrease distracted driving of young drivers and increase the odds that new drivers participate in a Driver’s Education class. Hopefully this leads to less accidents and deaths involving teens and other young drivers.