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Teen drivers have more to worry about than not using cell phonesPosted Wednesday, July 1, 2009, at 12:32 PM
So, new teen drivers are not supposed to be talking on the cell phone while they're driving anymore -- at least until they're 18 ... unless they're calling 911.
So far when I've heard people talking about the new law with new rules for these beginning drivers, the cell phone ban seems to be the biggest deal about this law they see. As the parent of three teen drivers in the past and two soon-to-be teen drivers currently, the cell phone thing struck me as a minor point. My teen-experienced eye zeroed in on other points of the new "Graduated Driver's License Law" and the red flag was raised.
When a teen gets a license then screws up on that speed limit thing between Freedom and Worthington, or somehow turns the wrong way on a one-way street in Bloomington with a cop sitting round the corner, or is guilty of any number of "don't know how that happened" violations, they've been able to take advantage of diversion programs that keep the violation off the record. And that helps on insurance costs big time.
Those days are over with this new law. It says that until the driver turns 18, they will not be eligible for any court diversion programs for moving violations. Ouch. This could hurt.
In addition, for the first 180 days, they can't drive between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. After the first 180 days, until they turn 18, they can't drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. on school days/nights or between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on the weekends, unless they coming or going from work, or school or church events, or have someone over 25 with a valid Indiana driver's license with them.
Also for the first 180 days, they can't drive with any passengers, unless they have with them a licensed instructor, someone over 25 with a valid Indiana driver's license, or a parent, guardian, or step-parent who is 21 years or older. They can drive with their child, sibling or spouse.
And, every person in the vehicle, any vehicle, must be wearing a seatbelt when there's a probationary driver behind the wheel.
Speeding tickets are not cheap, not to mention what a couple of those can do to your insurance rates if you've got a teen male driver in the house. If you've not got one in awhile, you'd be in for a shock when you hear the cost.
Add to this, that if a probationary driver violates this law, like drives after hours, gets caught talking on a cell phone, etc., that's another violation called a class C infraction which could result in a fine of $500.
And remember, they can't get out of the thing through any diversion program anymore.
Yup, the older brothers (well, Gabe in particular) managed to wiggle out of a traffic ticket jam or two in the past but the younger ones will not have that opportunity.
Seems like I remember seeing a book awhile back called "How to talk your way out of a traffic ticket." Maybe I'll do an Amazon search ... or not. Seriously, I think the new law is going to be a good thing. I just hope my soon-to-be drivers keep their mind on their business when they hit the road.
For more information on the "Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) System," visit the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles Web site at www.in.gov/bmv/.
Anna is a staff writer at the Greene County Daily World and can be reached by calling 847-4487 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .
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