Maryland Accident Lawyers: Teen Driver Graduation is Reason to Celebrate

 

Usually, talk about teens and graduation brings up images of long gowns and proud parents, balloons and cake, gifts and congratulations. There is one kind of graduation, however, that does more for teens than all the gift-wrapped X-Boxes in the world: the Maryland Rookie Driver Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system.

Passed into law in 2005, the graduated system introduces teens to driving in controlled steps with strict limits on what is permitted at any stage:

  • Anyone under 25 must hold a learner’s permit for nine months before being eligible for a provisional license. The minimum age to obtain a permit is 15 years and nine months.
  • Learners must have 60 hours of supervised driving, 10 of them at night, before moving on to the Intermediate or Provisional Licensing stage.
  • Minimum age to get an Intermediate license is 16 years and six months.
  • Intermediate license holders under 18 may not drive between midnight and 5 a.m., may not carry passengers under 18 (except immediate family) for the first five months, and may not use any wireless communication devices (including hands-free cell phones) while driving, except to call 911.
  • Drivers must hold the provisional license for 18 consecutive months with no moving violations to qualify for a full driver’s license. Any violation re-starts the 18-month clock.
  • The minimum age to convert to a full driver’s license is 18.

In addition, there are still penalties for drivers under 21 who are found to be driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, including license suspension for up to two years.

Why such tight control? Statistics show that not only do teen drivers have the highest crash risk of any age group, they are also especially prone to accidents involving:

  • Driver error
  • Speeding
  • Single-vehicle crashes
  • Alcohol
  • Night driving
  • Non-use of seat belts
  • Passenger distraction (the more passengers, the higher the risk)

Although the number of young-driver related crashes in Maryland is decreasing year by year, an average of 38 people are injured every day in Maryland because of a crash involving a young driver. If you have been injured in a Maryland crash, contact the Maryland accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. today.