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What are Washington’s teen driving laws?

Does it feel like just yesterday you were sending your child off to school for the first time? Now, your child is a teenager and preparing to obtain their driver’s license. It’s amazing how fast time flies.

While you’ve always known that this day would come, you may still feel uneasy. Inexperienced drivers are among the most disadvantaged on the road. Car crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths and because of their youth, injuries can become lifelong problems.

Parents should know what to expect

s teen driving laws are there to prepare your child for life as an independent driver. It’s important that they use their probationary period to establish good driving habits. Your child may obtain their learner’s permit at age 15 and must carry their permit for six months. State law requires them to have 50 hours of supervised driving time with 10 hours of driving time.

At age 16, your child can then try for their driver’s license. In the first six months, the law restricts your child from driving between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. They must also not have any passengers under 20 years old for the first six months after obtaining their license and no more than three passengers under 20 years old until they obtain their full driving privileges.

Your role as a parent

Parents like you are often the best teachers for their child. Driver’s education is more than just showing someone where the wipers or gas pedal or brake pedals are. You can be a shining example of what it means to be a good driver. A couple ways you can set a good example includes:

  • Limit your distractions. It’s going to be difficult to tell your child not to use their phone or eat and drive when you do the same things. Distracted driving is a common cause of teen driving accidents, which makes this area especially important.
  • Demonstrate good driving habits. Show your child the importance of doing things like signaling for lane changes, shoulder checking, and obeying speed limits by doing them yourself. These things tend to fall to the wayside for many drivers, but kids learn from their parents’ example.

By doing your part as a parent, you can help ensure that your child reaches their destination safely every time they get behind the wheel. Handing the keys to your family vehicle over to your child for the first time can be scary but knowing the law for teen drivers and how you can do your part may bring you peace of mind.

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