It can be an exciting time when you have a teen driver in the house, but it’s also a time when you have to set strong ground rules and really know the laws. That way you can protect your teen as much as possible and teach them to be safe on the road. Those are both very important parts of being a parent, and they’re worth considering and learning about. California Drivers Ed is one of the best ways for you and your teen driver to be prepared, but it’s about more than basic traffic laws. Your teen also needs to understand the driving curfews, so they don’t violate the law by accident simply be being out of the house too late.

Getting a License at 16 Doesn’t Mean Ultimate Freedom

There aren’t too many restrictions for teen drivers, but one of the most important ones is the curfew. For the first 12 months after earning their license, teens aren’t allowed to be on the roads between 11pm and 5am. There are exceptions for teens who work late or early shifts, though. If they have a signed statement from their employer about the hours they’re working, they’re legal to be on the road because the reason they’re out is valid and important. Without the statement, they could be ticketed. Even though there’s an online traffic school for ticket dismissal, it’s better and easier to avoid the ticket in the first place.

Keep in mind that it’s not just for 16-year-old drivers. Since the curfew is in effect for the first 12 months after a license is earned, someone who’s 17 when they get their license will still have a curfew to contend with. Age isn’t the main reason for the curfew being dropped or not in effect unless someone doesn’t get their license until they’re already out of their teenage years. At that point, they wouldn’t need to worry about the curfew or the teen driving laws, even though they’re a new driver.

Passenger Requirements Are Important, Too

It’s not just about the curfews when it comes to what’s acceptable for teen drivers. They also must be careful who they have in the car with them, since they can’t have passengers under 20 years old for the first 12 months. Just like with the curfew rules, though, there are exceptions. If someone in the car is over 25, then there can be other people in the car who are under 20. That makes it legal for a teen driver to take one of their parents somewhere along with their younger siblings, for example. The goal is to reduce distractions, which can be especially bad for drivers who don’t have a lot of experience on the roads yet.

Will the Curfew Be Changed?

There are plans and attempts to change laws all the time, and the teen driving curfew in California is no exception. One lawmaker in 2017 lost his 20-year-old daughter in a car crash and introduced legislation that would keep the curfew and other requirements for teen drivers in place until they turned 21, instead of just for the first 12 months after they received their license. Opponents of this change argue that it’s too intrusive for people who work and go to school, for example, or who have other obligations that require them to drive between the hours of 11pm and 5am. Whether or not the law gets changed, though, it’s very important that you and your teen driver know and understand the information that California Drivers Ed offers so the laws can be followed properly.