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Teen Driving Rules

In response to the disproportionate number of serious and fatal accidents involving teenagers, Washington State recently changed and strengthened restrictions on obtaining a new driver's license. We hope the following information will help parents and their teens better understand the process.

Beginning June 10, 2010, drivers with instruction permits or intermediate licenses will not be allowed to use any wireless devices (cell phones or texting devices) unless it is to report illegal activity, summon medical or other emergency help, or prevent injury to a person or property. Using a wireless device while driving will be an infraction that carries a $124 fine, and will be a primary offense, meaning you do not have to commit a driving offense to be pulled over.

Driver's Permit

If a teen is enrolled in a Driver's Education course, they can obtain their Driver's Permit at the age of 15. If not enrolled, they must wait until age 15 1/2, and pass the written test, to get the permit.

Intermediate Driver's License

Intermediate Driver's Licenses are only issued to teens ages 16 to 18. The teen must have a driver's permit for six months and:

Restrictions

Passenger and night driving restrictions expire after the first year if the teen has maintained a record free of citations and accidents.

Penalties

If any traffic violations or collisions occur during the first year with an Intermediate license, the passenger and nighttime restrictions will continue. In addition, the following actions are taken if a driving offense takes place:

Alcohol, drug and firearm offenses will negatively affect a teen's driving status. The first offense will result in a revocation of the driver's license for at least a year or until the age of 17. A second offense will revoke the license for at least two years, or until the age of 18.