For teens, getting a driver’s license is an exciting rite of passage. For parents, it’s a daunting reminder that our children grow up and become increasingly independent. And for the general public, it’s simply adding newer and less experienced drivers to the roads. That’s why it’s important to help prepare your teen for this milestone and the responsibilities that come with it.
The state of Minnesota has a multi-step approach for licensing teens to drive.
At the age of 15, your teen can apply for an instructional permit on the condition that he or she has completed 30 hours of classroom Driver’s Education. Your teen must also be already enrolled in behind-the-wheel instruction when they apply for their permit.
Finally, your teen needs to pass the written exam in order to get the permit, which is valid for two years. If after that time your teen has not yet received his or her license, you can renew it.
After your teen gets an instructional permit, he or she can drive as long as there is a parent, legal guardian, driving instructor or another licensed driver who is at least 21 years old in the car as well. Of course, seat belts must be worn at all times, and cell phone use – even hands-free – is strictly prohibited.
At the age of at least 16, and after your teen has had an instructional permit for at least six months, he or she may be able to get a provisional license. Other requirements to get the provisional license include:
It’s important to note that if the teen’s parents complete an optional, 90-minute supplemental training, the 50 hours of supervised driving is reduced to 40.
Once your teen has met these requirements, he or she is ready to take the driver’s exam to obtain a provisional license, which carry a few restrictions.
During the first six months of having a provisional license:
During the second six months of having a provisional license:
If your teen has had his or her provisional license for 12 months without any traffic violations or accidents, and has had an additional 15 hours of supervised driving with a licensed driver over the age of 21, he or she is eligible for a full, unrestricted driver’s license.
As if the licensing process wasn’t enough to think about, you also need to think about auto insurance for your teen. The good news is, you probably don’t need to think about it during the permit phase as usually teens driving with a licensed adult are covered under their parents’ policy.
But, in order for your teen to get their provisional license, he or she is required to show proof of insurance. As a parent or guardian, you can add them to your policy.
It’s important to keep in mind that your teen’s insurance rate will most likely be higher than your own simply because teen drivers are new drivers and risk of a crash is significantly higher for new and young drivers.
Here are some strategies to help keep costs down:
Want more ideas to keep your teen driver safe? Give us a call; we love helping families navigate this big, important step.