Recently I passed a car plastered with signs announcing that it belonged to a local driving school. In the driver’s seat was a fresh scrubbed teenager with both hands gripping the wheel tightly at “ten and two”. The passenger seat was occupied by an instructor patiently giving directions to the student driver. All appeared to be going smoothly while the two were paired together in the car moving along Main Street.
There will come a time when that young driver and thousands of other young drivers will be turned loose to drive without a parent or instructor in the car. Unfortunately, it is during those times that things do not always go smoothly. Young drivers, ages 15 – 20 years old, are especially vulnerable to death and injury on our roadways. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America. Mile for mile, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.
Research confirms that inexperience and immaturity combined with speed, drinking and driving, not wearing seat belts, distracted driving, drowsy driving, nighttime driving, and other drug use aggravate the problem of teen-related crashes. Distracted driving is a term that has emerged recently and would include using a cell phone or texting while driving.
In Indiana if you are younger than 18 years of age when you obtain a driver’s license, your license is considered probationary until your turn 18 years old. While you have a probationary driver’s license it is against the law for you to operate a motor vehicle and use a communication device, such as a cell phone, unless you are calling 911.
Individuals that violate this law are subject to fines of up to five hundred dollars, suspension of their driving privileges, and may be required to attend a defensive driving course.