Parents have a lot of questions when their teen reaches driving age. While many things about seeing your child get behind the wheel for the first time may be fraught with worries and complications, educating yourself about teen driving law can help to ease your mind. While parents' primary concern is that their teens avoid getting in serious accidents, they are of course also concerned about avoiding traffic tickets and license suspensions for the younger drivers in their household.
Avoiding Tickets to Avoid Accidents
Some of the top causes of auto accidents with teen drivers are unsafe speed and distracted driving. Teens not wearing seatbelts contributes to an increased number of fatalities and serious injuries. So teen drivers, if driving to avoid getting a ticket, will also be decreasing their chances of getting in a serious accident.
Requirements for Obtaining a Driver's Licence for Ohio Teens
Like most states, Ohio has instituted a program of gradually granting teens driving privileges over time, as long as they avoid traffic violations. These kinds of programs have helped significantly lower traffic accident deaths over the last several decades. While teens are still disproportionately likely to cause or be involved in an accident, the number of traffic-related teen deaths has plummeted from nearly 9,000 in 1975 to under 3,000 in 2017.
According to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, teens may obtain a temporary instruction permit identification card (TIPIC, or "temps") 6 months after they turn 15. All they need to do after reaching the appropriate age is take a brief test, typically offered on a computer at most BMV locations.
In order to receive a driver's license while still a minor, teens must hold the TIPIC for 6 months and complete a driver education course which includes 24 hours of in classroom instruction and 8 hours of instruction on the road. They must also gain at least 50 hours of supervised driving experience, with at least 10 hours completed at night.
When the state of Ohio issues a license to a teen driver, it comes with some restrictions for the first year. New drivers are not allowed to drive between midnight and 6am without the supervision of a parent or guardian (unless they are driving for work, school, or religious reasons). New teen drivers may not have more than one non-family member in the vehicle while driving. Even after the first year, teens are not allowed to drive between 1 and 5am unsupervised.
Law Enforcement is Cracking Down Distracted Driving in Ohio
Ohio is increasing the effort to combat Distracted Driving on Ohio roadways. Distracted Driving is a primary offense for under-18 drivers, which mean teens can be pulled over if a police officer merely observes them engaging in any activity not necessary for the operation of the vehicle. Even if no other traffic rules have been violated, teens can be cited for distracted driving.
In Warren, Butler, Montgomery, and Greene Counties, Teen Traffic Violations are Taken Very Seriously
Traffic violations may be treated more harshly for young drivers. The BMV warns that "A conviction of a traffic offense within the first six months of having a license may result in a parent or guardian having to accompany the driver for six months or until the driver reaches age 17," and that "Multiple traffic convictions before the driver's 18th birthday may result in a license suspension. For alcohol-related convictions, the driver license will be suspended for at least six months."
If Your Teen Is Cited For a Traffic Violation, Here's How We Can Help
If you are or are the parent of a teen driver facing traffic charges, give our attorneys a call. Our lawyers' skills and experience will help you and your teen navigate the legal process and help you understand the significance and extent of your traffic charges.
Our lawyers can evaluate your situation and the facts of your case. Questions we will likely ask your teen driver include:
What happened to gain the attention of the citing officer?
What did you say? What did the officer tell you?
Were there any witnesses to the traffic stop, either passengers in your car or other outside observers?
Were there any exceptional circumstances surrounding your situation, such as emergency of any kind?
Once we talk to you and your teen, we can get a good idea of arguments we can make on the driver's behalf to try to negotiate a dismissal or a reduced charge for your teen.
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Our lawyers are familiar with the local Courts and can help you understand the strength of your case, and the likelihood of a favorable outcome for your case. During your first visit or phone call, we can do an initial assessment of your case, and give you a good idea of your personalized defense strategy, including how much our services will cost. Give us a call, any time day or night.
In Lebanon, Warren County and Butler County, Ohio call (513) 932-5529.
In Beavercreek, Montgomery County and Greene County, Ohio call (937) 306-6402.