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Many teens fail to obey driving restrictions

Drivers younger than 18 in Manteca, Ripon and Lathrop — as well as throughout California — have driving restrictions stipulated under state law in an attempt to save lives of the inexperienced drivers and their passengers.

CHP spokesman Officer James Smith, Ripon First Sergeant Steve Merchant and Manteca Police Sergeant Jodie Estarziau said their officers are alert to the dangers of teen drivers in not following the letter of the law that limits them in driving with passengers in their vehicles.

In the case of a teen with a learner’s permit their passengers are limited to a parent or legal guardian or a qualified trainer for the duration of the permit. The law states that they may not use cell phones – even hands free – or any other mobile electronic device while driving. That includes any hand held computer or other device with a video display.

Drivers aged 16 and 17 are limited by laws governing those with a learner’s permit for the first 12 months after obtaining their license. That includes not being able to drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. and not being able to transport passengers under the age of 20 without a parent or a guardian or a licensed driver 25 and older in the vehicle.

Officers noted that many new teen drivers commonly ignore the law and drive their fellow students to school in their cars and pickup trucks facing suspension of their license if cited.

Any person providing instruction must be at least 20 years old who has had a license for four years with no suspensions over four years.

A second six month period – until the minor’s birthday – the new driver may also drive with his or her immediate family. And, until their 18th birthday they may not drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless it is for employment, school, and religious activities or for a medical necessity.

Young motorcycle riders may not carry a passenger for the first six months after receiving their license when they are younger than 18.