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California Driver Handbook - Special Section - Minors


California Driver Handbook - Special Section - Minors

Traffic Violations

Nearly 50 percent (%) of the drivers between 15 to 19 years old are convicted of a traffic violation in their first year of driving.

The most common violation is for speeding, which often results in the loss of vehicle control and accounts for about 50% of all teen traffic convictions.

When you violate traffic laws, you increase your chances of having a collision.

Teenage Traffic Deaths

Drivers 15 to 19 years old have the highest traffic conviction, collision, and injury rates of any age group. Traffic collisions are the leading cause of death for teenagers. If you are under 18 years old, your risk of a fatal collision is about 2½ times that of the “average” driver. Your risk of an injury collision is 3 times higher than the average driver’s risk.

Actions Against The Provisional Driver License

Teenagers as a group average twice as many collisions as adult drivers, while driving only half as many miles. The teenage collision rate per mile is 4 times greater than the adult driver collision rate per mile.

Traffic deaths of new drivers are deadly combinations of their inexperience driving, lack of familiarity with the vehicle, and their need to push themselves and the vehicle to the limit.

Keeping Your Provisional Driver License

DMV will track your driving record and take actions based upon any collisions or violations as follows:

  • If you get a traffic ticket and fail to appear in court, DMV will suspend your driving privilege until you appear in court.
  • If you have 1 “at fault” collision or conviction within 12 months, DMV will send you a warning letter.
  • If you have a second “at fault” collision or conviction (or combination of both) within 12 months, you cannot drive for 30 days, unless accompanied by your licensed parent or other licensed adult who is at least 25 years old.
  • If you have a third “at fault” collision or conviction (or any combination) within 12 months, you will be suspended for 6 months and placed on probation for 1 year.
  • If you have additional “at fault” collisions or point count convictions while on probation, you will be suspended again. (Traffic law violations resolved in juvenile court are also reported to DMV.)
  • If you are convicted of using alcohol or a controlled substance and you are between 13 to 21 years old, the court orders DMV to suspend your DL for 1 year. If you do not have a DL, the court orders DMV to delay your eligibility to apply for a DL. You may also be required to complete a DUI program.

Any restriction, suspension, or probation will continue for its full term past your 18th birthday.

Other, stronger actions may be taken if your driving record justifies them. Remember, if your driving privilege has been suspended or revoked, you may not drive in California.

Habitual Truant—Persons 13 to 18 Years Old

The court will suspend, restrict, delay, or revoke your driving privilege for 1 year if you are convicted of being a habitual truant from school.

Minors and Cell Phones

  • It is against the law for a minor to use a cell phone or electronic wireless communications device while driving. Do not answer calls or send/ respond to text messages.
  • Convictions for violations of this law are subject to fines.

Exceptions: You may use a cell phone to contact law enforcement, a health care provider, the fire department, or another emergency entity in an emergency situation.

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