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Setting the record straight on the importance of teens obeying driver licensing laws

It has come to my attention that some of you teen drivers are not understanding the importance of obeying the law concerning Intermediate Driver's Licenses. Some of you do not believe that the police take it serious, in regards to enforcement. I want to set the record straight on how important we feel this law is.

Law enforcement officers understand how this law will prevent unnecessary crashes, injuries and deaths. They aggressively enforce it. Because of all the pedestrians and cars around before school, during lunch breaks and immediately after school, as many of our officers as possible are in the school zones. Your chances of being caught are quite high.

In addition, because of the number of complaints we receive about students not obeying the law, the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission is going to sponsor special 'emphasis' days where even more officers will be watching for violators.

This law not only affects you but also your parent(s) that might have you on their insurance plan. Imagine how much their insurance premiums will go up if their child has a suspended driver's license! And if their/your car gets impounded after you get stopped! And they have to be your chauffeur until you turn 18, instead of you being able to drive yourself, and/or run errands for your family!

FACT: For decades, automobile crashes have been and still are the number one killer of Americans ages 15 to 20. In 1999, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 520,000 teens were injured and more than 4,900 died in automobile crashes. That is an average of over 13 deaths every day, or approximately one teen in every state every four days. These numbers continue to go up in spite of the fact that deaths and injuries for all other driver age groups have dropped in the last decade.

What restrictions are placed on an Intermediate Driver License?

For the first six months after issuance of an Intermediate Driver License, the holder of the license may not have any passengers in the car under the age of 20, except for members of the holder's immediate family.

After the first six months, the holder may not have more than three passengers in the car under the age of 20, except for members of the holder's immediate family.

The holder of an Intermediate Driver License may not operate a vehicle between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. except when the holder is accompanied by a parent, guardian or a licensed driver who is at least 25 years of age.

What happens if the holder of an Intermediate Driver License commits or is convicted of traffic offenses or violations of the restrictions on the license?

For a first traffic offense that is a Rules of the Road violation, or for a first violation of the restrictions on an Intermediate Driver License, a warning letter will be sent to the driver's parent or guardian.

For a second such offense, the Department will suspend the Intermediate Driver License for six months or until the driver reaches age 18, whichever occurs first. A notice of the suspension will be sent to the driver and a copy of the notice will be sent to the driver's parent or guardian.

For a third such offense, the Department will suspend the Intermediate Driver License until the driver reaches age 18. A notice of the suspension will be sent to the driver and a copy of the notice will be sent to the driver's parent or guardian.

Can a minor get an Intermediate License if they have had a drug or alcohol related charge of Minor in Possession (MIP)?

If the minor had a MIP during the time when they held an instruction permit, they would not be eligible to get an intermediate license. The minor will have to wait until age 18 to get their first license.

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