Teenage Driving Resource Center
Drivers under 21 make up approximately ten percent (10%) of the driving population in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2015, approximately 2,333 teenagers between 16 and 19 were killed in motor vehicle crashes. In 2014, approximately 221,313 went to emergency rooms for injuries suffered in motor vehicle collisions. Statistically, young drivers are some of the most vulnerable drivers on the roadway because they tend to be less likely to fully appreciate the consequences of irresponsible driving.
The importance of parents talking to their children about the privilege of driving on Colorado roads, and the seriousness of safe driving, cannot be understated. This article provides a list of resources that parents and teenage drivers can use to understand many of the traffic laws that apply to underage drivers.
- National Information about Safe Driving for Teens
- Colorado Resources About Safe Driving for Teens
- Criminal Driving Offenses in Colorado
- Driving Under the Influence in Colorado
Parents should talk to their children about the importance of driving safely. Of even greater importance is showing your children your safe driving habits when you are driving.
Teen Drivers – How to Talk to Your Teen Driver – Important points to discuss with your teen driver while they are learning to drive.
Teenage Drivers –The Facts – Visit the Center for Disease Control website for more information on motor vehicle crashes across the United States that involve teenagers. Find information on the risk factors and the behavior that puts teens at risk. The website has information on how parents can talk about safe driving with their children and why it is important to have a conversation.
Trends in Teen Driver Licensing – The Journal of Safety Resource discusses the substantial declines in the proportion of licensed high school seniors to the increases in the proportion of non-drivers following the U.S. recession. The Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey provides nationally representative annual estimates of licensure and driving patterns among U.S. teens.
Reducing Risks for Teen Drivers – Visit SafeKids.org, a website created by Safe Kids, a nonprofit organization that works to help families and communities keep children safe from injury. With support from the General Motors Foundation, Safe Kids examined the various situations the ultimately lead to teen car collisions. Also, find out more about what parents are doing to make a difference.
Creating a Safe Driving Agreement With Your Teen Driver
While nothing can fully guarantee your child’s safety, there are many ways you can help encourage your teenager to drive responsibly. The Checkpoints Program encourages parents to create a safe driving agreement for each of their teen drivers. In these written agreements, parents and teens outline and agree to rules for driving, including driving hours, the number of passengers allowed in their car, seat belt use, driving in inclement weather, the distance allowed from home, and avoidance of risky driving behaviors.
These agreements should also include a rule that your teen driver will never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or ride as a passenger with a driver who is impaired. As part of this clause, parents agree that they will always provide a safe ride home when asked, no questions asked at the time.
Once you finalize the terms of your agreement, you should print it out and the teen and parents should sign it. Leaving it in a place where everyone can periodically review the rules is highly recommended.
If you would like more information about how to create your own teen driver safety agreement, visit http://www.youngdriverparenting.org/.
Colorado Teen Driver Safety – Safety points to discuss with your teen driver.
Teen Driving Restrictions – Visit the Colorado Department of Transportation to find more information about teenage driving restrictions such as curfews, mandatory seatbelts, cell phones and texting bans. Find the top tips from Colorado driving schools and parenting advice for informing kids about driving.
Getting Your Colorado License – Visit the Department of Revenue’s Division of Motor Vehicles to learn more about getting your Colorado driver’s licenses as a teenager.
Colorado Driver’s Handbook – Visit the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Division of Motor Vehicles website to find Handbook was created as part of the state’s continuing commitment to safety on the roads and fostering smart and safe responsible driving on the roads of Colorado.
Minor Driver’s License – Visit Colorado’s Division of Motor Vehicles to learn more about what minors between the ages of 16 to 21 need to do to obtain their Colorado driver’s license.
Teen Driver Safety – Visit Drive Smart Colorado for more information about statistics on teen death through to unsafe driving methods. Find out information about teaching teenagers to manually drive, a general brochure for parents who have teenage drivers, and more important lessons on driving safely.
Texting While Driving – What you need to know about Texting While Driving in Colorado.
Criminal Driving Offenses in Colorado
Not only is driving safely and responsibly imperative for young drivers, but it is also important to understand the various driving offenses that are accompanied by more than civil citations. Below is a list of criminal traffic infractions that every young driver should know more about.
Class 1 Misdemeanor Driving Offense:
- Speeding — § 42-4-1101
- Knowingly Engaging in a Speeding Contest — § 42-4-1105
- Careless driving — § 42-4-1402 (2) (b) and § 42-4-1402 (2) (C)
- Accidents Involving Death or Personal Injury — § 42-4-1601(2)(a)
A Class 1 Misdemeanor is punishable by up to twelve months in jail and up to $1,000 fines.
Class 2 Misdemeanor Driving Offenses:
- Driving without a License — § 42-2-101(10)
- Driving under the Influence — § 42-4-1301
- Reckless Driving — § 42-4-1401(2)
- Accidents Involving Damage — §42-4-1602(1)
- Striking an Unattended Property — § 42-4-1604
- Duty to Report Accidents — § 42-4-1606(6)
Class 2 Misdemeanor Traffic Offenses are punishable by up to 90 days in jail and up to $300 fines.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
Approximately 2,000 underage drivers die of driving under the influence each year. In most states, including Colorado, zero tolerance laws lower the blood alcohol content (BAC) level for underage DUI to .02% from .08.
Additionally, with Colorado being one of only eight states and the District of Columbia, that has legalized marijuana, explaining the consequences of driving under the influence of marijuana to teenage drivers is imperative.
Legal Summary for Colorado Drunk Driving – Visit the website Tornado State.org for an article that provides information on the administrative penalties for driving under the influence, as well as the various statutes for being charged as a habitual traffic offender.
Legal Limit for Marijuana DUI – Visit No DUI Colorado to find pertinent information about the Colorado legal limits for driving under the influence of marijuana along with the penalties for conviction.
Underage DUI Information – Compiled information about what to expect when facing an underage DUI.
Dangers of Teenage Drowsy Driving
The studies are clear—failing to get enough sleep as a teen or adult increases the risk of being involved in car accidents. In a 2012 study conducted in New South Wales, Australia, researchers at the University of Sydney found adolescents who reported sleeping 6 or fewer hours per night had an increased risk of car crashes compared to those who reported sleeping more than 6 hours per night. Also, teenagers who reported getting less weekend sleep had a higher risk of run-off-road and late-night crashes.
What many teens and parents do not realize is that drowsiness can be similar to intoxication. The National Safety Council reports being awake 18 hours straight is similar to having a .05 percent blood alcohol concentration. This means if your teen doesn’t go to sleep one night because of a school assignment due the next day, they should not be behind the wheel the next morning.
But your teen isn’t only in danger after an all-nighter. Adolescents are at risk for dangerous drowsy driving whenever they have to:
- Drive to school early in the morning after fewer than 9 hours of sleep;
- Drive home in mid-afternoon when their circadian rhythm would prefer they take a nap;
- Drive late on weekend nights after a week of too little sleep.
Find an Attorney for a Teenage Driver Accident in Denver, CO
If you or someone you know has a teenage driver who would like to know more about how to prepare his or her child for the Colorado roadways, contact our office or visit our website.
Jennifer Donaldson is an experienced personal injury attorney in Denver, CO, who represents victims of auto collisions. As a personal injury attorney, she sees, first hand, the problems that can arise with young people driving in a negligent or careless manner.
Prevent your child from being civilly or criminally liable for reckless or negligent driving by talking to them about the seriousness of safe driving.
Call Law Office of Jennifer L. Donaldson at (303) 458-5000 now for more information about how distracted or careless driving on Colorado roadways can lead to criminal or civil liability.