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California Driver's Permit, Drivers Education, Lessons, Tests

Parents of Teen Drivers

Confused about the whole process?

Are you as confused as other parents about the whole licensing process? If so, we have created a license process page just for you, with a step-by-step timeline of what your teen will go through in getting his or her license. We also suggest you read the DMV's Parent-Teen Training Guide.

Most states require a graduated license for teen drivers. In many states newly licensed teens are restricted from driving at night or carrying teen passengers. Also, while teen drivers make up only 7% of the driving population, they are involved in 14% of fatal crashes. Traffic crashes are the number one cause of death for people ages 15-19. It is important to help your teen become a safe driver.

How to Make Teen Drivers Follow Cell Phone Laws While Driving?

Here's a situation in which you can never provide too much information. Teens who don't follow cell phone laws while driving don't ever believe they will get caught, or that operating a hand held device while driving presents a potentially fatal distraction. Help your teen understand that using cell phones while driving does in fact pose a serious risk by reading the guidelines below.

  • #1 - Have your teen call your local division of motor vehicles and inquire about the fine for using cell phone while driving. Most states start with moderate fines for the first conviction and double these fines for subsequent convictions. However, advise your teen that you will not pay for tickets they get from using cell phones while driving.
  • #2 - Direct your teen to ask whether state laws allow a grace period during which drivers receive only a warning if caught using a cell phone while driving. Most states do not allow such a grace period which tells your teen that he should immediately cease using hand held devices while driving.
  • #3 - Explain to your teen what actually happens when a motorist gets caught talking on a cell phone. A police officer pulls the motorist over and a conviction appears on the motorist's driving record
  • # 4 - Temper some of this discussion by explaining to your teen that he or she can only use a cell phone while driving in an emergency situation. Explain that "emergency situation" refers only to situations requiring the motorist to contact a law enforcement agency, health care provider, emergency agency or fire department.
California Teen Driving LawsWho is in the Car with Your Teen?Something to consider is who is allowed to ride with your teen driver. When it comes to California state driving laws, who you drive is as important as how you drive: During the first 12 months a teen cannot transport other passengers that are under the age of 20 years old unless the newly licensed driver is accompanied by an adult passenger that is 25 years or older. A California teen who has been driving for less than 12 months is not legally allowed to transport any passengers below the age of 20 if there is no adult supervisor riding along.
What Are the Rules for a 15½ Year Old with a CA Learners Permit?Drivers who are 15½  years old may qualify for a learning permit. Once they pass the DMV Permit test needed to attain the permit, they may drive on the roads legally. However, they are not allowed to drive without the presence of an adult that is 25 years or older. A person with a learners permit is not permitted to transport any passengers other than the primary adult who is supervising them and they are not allowed on the road between 11PM and 5AM. 

What are the Rules for a teen with a CA Provisional License?During the first 12 months, your minor teen cannot:
-Drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.They may qualify for curfew exemptions due to work, school, or religious purposes. (Check with your local laws that could further restrict or prohibit driving during specified hours.)
-Transport passengers under 20 years unless accompanied by a licensed Parent or Guardian, California driver 25 years old or older or a certified driving instructor.
Also it is against the law for drivers under 18 years old to use a cellphone or other wireless electronic communication device while driving, including a hands-free device, unless making a call for emergency services or on private property. Once a person is at the age of 18, they are no longer mandated to follow any provisional driving rules and regulations. 

Can Drivers Ed be taught effectively online?

Are you skeptical about an online course being an effective way for your child to learn driver education? A DMV study comparing online driver education to paper-based workbooks and classroom courses found that home-study computer-based instruction may actually be more effective than classroom instruction.

My California Permit Drivers Ed course is comprehensive, emphasizes safety, and includes the whys of driving, not just the hows.

Many behind-the-wheel driving schools recommend our course because they know that our "graduates" will have the proper foundation of knowledge when it's time for driver training.

We understand what you are going through...

I am often asked, by parents, "what am I supposed to do" to satisfy the California Vehicle Code requirement of 50 hours of supervised driving, by the parent or legal guardian. Most parents recognize the fact that they have errors in their own driving, and they wish to avoid passing these same errors on to their teen.

Parents will benefit by reading this material developed for driving instructors:

Necessary Traits for Becoming a Driving Instructor - A Primer for Parents [PDF]

Basic tips for parents:

  • Your teen is probably more nervous than you are.
  • Yelling "Stop!" only makes them more nervous.
  • Keep a conversation going about the drive.
  • Be consistent in what you tell them.
  • Praise, not criticism, works!

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