Graduated driver’s license
Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Centers for Disease Control confirm the teenage driver is the most dangerous person on American roads. As a group, they represent only about 13% of all drivers but are responsible more slightly more than 30% of all accidents. In an attempt to slow down the rate of injuries and deaths, most states have introduced new requirements to encourage young drivers and their parents to take more responsibility for the quality of the driving. The graduated program in Delaware works as follows:
• the Level One Learner’s Permit is available to anyone who has reached the age of sixteen and who has passed the approved education course;
• the application must be countersigned by a sponsor who physically comes to the DMV and accepts liability jointly with the teen driver for any damages flowing from negligent driving;
• it’s for the sponsor to decide whether the teen is sufficiently competent to be allowed to drive;
• if the sponsor decides the teen is no longer competent to drive, consent can be withdrawn and the driver has to wait until reaching the age of eighteen to apply to resume driving privileges;
• the state prefers the parents to sponsor their child; if neither is available for some valid reason, a legal guardian, or a person acceptable to the Secretary of Transportation may act.
Limits on the freedom to drive
During the first six months, the teen must be supervised by an adult at all times and the sponsor must certify there has been not less than 50 hours of behind-the-wheel training. After six months, the teen can drive unsupervised from 6 am to 10 pm. There’s a general curfew at night unless this is a journey connected with school, religious observance, or for work. Permit holders and all passengers must wear a seat belt while the teen is driving. It’s an offense for the teen to use any mobile technology while driving. There can never be more than one passenger during the first twelve months of driving unless the adult supervisor approves. The permit holder can apply for a Class D Driver’s License once there’s at least twelve months of driving experience and the sponsor has not withdrawn support.
Although parents are encouraged to be leading the training effort, there are classroom courses and driver education courses run by driving schools. The more young drivers study and then practice the skills, the better the chance of becoming safe drivers and passing the driver exams.