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General Laws Regarding Teens and Driving

By Edited Nov 5, 2015 0 3

The laws regarding teen driving vary from state to state. In some states teenagers can obtain a driver license at 16 years old, while other states do not allow teens to drive until they are 18. According to Allstate Insurance, teens and parents should become familiar with the driving laws in their state as soon as possible. Teens can obtain their learner's permits as soon as the law allows so they have plenty of time to practice before trying for their first driver license.

Learner's Permit

In most states teens are allowed to obtain a learner's permit after taking driving classes, often in school, or a driving test. Each state has different rules and most states allow teens to get their permit at age 15. Some states will allow teens to get a permit at age 16 and a license at age 18.

Usually teens need to obtain their permit before getting an official license, but these rules vary from state to state. A learner's permit requires the teen to drive with a licensed driver over the age of 21 in the car with them. In some states like Virgina there are no rules about how many people can be in the car, but other states will allow people who have a learner's permit to have only two or three passengers in the car unless they are family members.

In some states, teens are allowed to skip the permit and take take the test for their official license at age 16. There are also laws in farming states such as North Dakota that allow teens to obtain a license to drive farm equipment only.

Speeding and Traffic Laws

Teens are required to adhere to the same speeding and traffic laws that adults must obey on the road. Traffic laws such as stopping at a red or yellow light or using your blinker to signal a turn or to pass another driver apply to young drivers as well. Teens are penalized with high speeding tickets just as other adults are on the road. There are no rules that give teens preferential treatment. Traffic police are generally paying close attention to the quality of a younger person's driving.


In some locales, such as the state of Washington, certain restrictions are put on teen drivers with an official license. Teenagers are not permitted to drive between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. unless they are with a parent or another adult who is at least 25 years old. A teen is not allowed to drive with passengers under 20 years old, unless they are a family member. In addition, teens are not permitted to carry more than three people under age 20 in their car. If teens are caught breaking the rules, they will receive a ticket, have points assessed against their license and possibly lose their driving privileges altogether. If a teen is caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs he will be arrested and lose his license immediately.

Auto Insurance

Teenagers are required to have minimum liability auto insurance in all states. Minimum liability covers the cost of a collision if the teen crashes into another car. However, if the teen has a loan on his car he is required to have full coverage auto insurance to cover the cost of repairs for his vehicle as well as any vehicle he may hit.

Allstate Auto Insurance offers parents of teenagers a good driver discount if their teens have a safe driving record. This program is encourages teens and parents to be safe on the road.



May 18, 2010 12:08pm
I just accompanied my 15 ½ year-old to her first Driver’s Ed. Class last night (through AAA). In Ca. when a teen (16) gets their driver’s license; for the first year of driving, they are not allowed to drive from 11pm to 5am and they cannot have any passengers (under 18) in the car while they are driving.

Good article Sarahince.
Jul 25, 2010 12:57am
great article thanks.
Nov 4, 2010 6:22pm
It is the responsibility of parents to teach their child the different driving laws in the state where they live in. In addition, they should make sure that their son or daughter knows how to protect all road users, including himself or herself, from road accidents.
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