Ca. Teen Driving Penalties–Are They Too Light?


Chase Arnett, 13, of Thousand Oaks, Ca., was killed last summer when a Ford F-150 pickup in which he was a passenger crashed. It was driven by a 16-year-old neighbor who had received a provisional license two months earlier, says the Los Angeles Times. The driver admitted to gross vehicular manslaughter and was ordered this month to spend 30 days in jail and four months wearing an electronic monitor, followed by more than a year of community service. Motorists under 18 are barred from having anyone under 20 in the car during their first licensed six months unless a parent, guardian or driver 25 years or older is with them.

Many teens wager they will never get caught. Law enforcement officers in California cannot stop a teen driver with other young people in the car in order to check whether he or she is driving with a provisional license. Arnett’s parents and others would like to see the law changed to dissuade teens from violating passenger restrictions, such as automatic suspension or revocation of their licenses and stiff fines for their parents.


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