Legislators Clarify MI Teen Driving Law

In March of 2011, new restrictions on teen driving took effect. The restrictions are aimed at keeping teen drivers, their passengers and all others on the road safe. As part of the second level of Michigan's graduated license program, the restrictions concern the number of passengers that can ride with teen drivers and the hours during which teens can drive.

Specifically, the restrictions that took effect in March are:

  • Teens are not allowed to have more than one non-family passenger younger than 20-years-old unless a parent, guardian or adult over 21-years-old is also a passenger
  • Between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., teens are not allowed to drive unless they are going to or returning home from work

In June of 2011, legislators further clarified the teen driving law. A bill sponsored by Rep. Bill Rogers (R-Brighton) passed the Michigan Senate unanimously, and clarifies the teen driving law in the following ways:

  • If driving as a requirement of employment, more than one non-family passenger under 20-years-old is allowed
  • Between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., teens are allowed to drive if they are returning home from or going to a school-sponsored event
  • Teens can also drive between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. if a parent or legal guardian is in the vehicle

The new bill does not repeal the law passed in March, it only serves to clarify and allow additional exceptions for teen drivers.

Teen Driving Statistics

Many states enacted graduated driver's license programs in an effort to combat the dangers posed by teen driving; allowing teens to gain driving experience under a somewhat controlled environment. A 2007 study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Center found that teen drivers were 2.5 times more likely than adults to be involved in a car accident, and passengers only increased this risk.

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • 3,000 teens between 15 and 19-years-old were killed in motor-vehicle accidents in 2009. Additionally, more than 350,000 more teens in the same age range were treated in emergency departments for injuries resulting from vehicle accidents.
  • While only accounting for 14 percent of the U.S. population, young people between 15 and 24-years-old account for 30 percent of the total cost of injuries among males and 28 percent among females resulting from car accidents.

Injuries from a vehicle accident can have a lasting impact on a person's life. If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, speak with an experienced Ann Arbor car accident attorney.