NHS1-25618 Parents of Teens.inddAs a NY accident lawyer, I can tell you that there is nothing more difficult than to sit with parents who have lost a child in a fatal car crash.

Often these cases involve a teen driver who didn’t  have the experience or the maturity to safely drive a car. Often these teen car accidents involve carloads of teenagers – we all know all too well that peer pressure can result in unsafe driving activities, such as speeding and drinking and driving.

Now there is a great new New York state law that seeks to address these dangers by placing new restrictions on teen drivers in NY, the New York Graduated License Law for drivers under age 18. The law took effect on Monday, Feb. 22.

What does the new law do?

  • It reduces from two to one the number of non-family passengers under age 21 riding in a motor vehicle operated by a junior license holder when not accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian
  • Eliminates the limited use junior license and require that a junior permit be held for at least 6 months before a junior or senior license may be issued
  • Increases the number of supervised driving hours before scheduling a road test from 20 to 50 hours, that includes 15 hours of driving after sunset.

WETM-TV reported on this new law in a news story, “More Strict Driving Rules for Teens.” In the WETM story, Chemung County Clerk Katie Hughes said of teens: “They are so busy now with all the stuff going on around them, kids in the car, people in the car, talking on the phone, texting which is against the law so they are really cutting down on this.”

The thought behind the new law

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles released a Graduated Driving Law video explaining the changes in the law and offering an important explanation from DMV Commissioner David Swarts.

” The intent of this new law …  is to help prepare our young drivers for the life-long responsibility of driving. The rationale behind these changes is very simple. Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for teens. The crash fatality rate is highest for 16- to 17-year-olds within the first six months of getting their license. These changes strengthen the current law and address the main causes of teen driver crashes-distractions and inexperience.”

I’m sure there is going to be a lot of disappointment expressed in the halls of high schools across the state. But this law is an absolute necessity if if can cut down on the number of fatal car accidents for teens. Our state’s young people shouldn’t have their lives cut short in car accidents, and parents shouldn’t have to hear that their child is gone.

Thanks for reading,

James B. Reed, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:jreed@zifflaw.com http://www.zifflaw.com
E-mail me at FreeReports@zifflaw.com for two free books:
NY Car Accidents and NY Car Insurance Secrets YOU Need to Know.