Teaching Your Teen To Drive
Inexperience behind the wheel is the number one reason teen drivers get into crashes. For teens to become safe and responsible drivers, they need to develop a range of critical driving skills. These skills are learned during the 40 hours of required drive time completed while they have their learner permit. Zero Fatalities has teamed up with the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to provide you with resources, lessons and tools to help your teen develop these critical driving skills and practice in a range of driving environments and conditions.
Zero Fatalities, in partnership with CHOP’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention, is sharing free, short videos to help you teach your teen over the next six months how to be a safe driver in all driving environments. Begin practicing by using the lessons below.
CHOP’s TeenDrivingPlan Practice Guide is an evidence-based driving plan designed to help your teen avoid the common errors novice drivers often make behind the wheel. You’ll find CHOP’s TeenDrivingPlan and resources that will guide you as your teen completes at least 40 hours of practice drive time.
How Parents Can Teach Their Teen to Drive
Text “Drive” to (435) 710-7373 for biweekly text messages that will help you teach your teen the skills needed to avoid the critical errors that are common with new drivers. You can opt out at any time by texting “STOP” to the same number.
Parents, you are the key to your teen driver’s safety.
Be involved. Did you know that research has shown that involved parents who set rules and monitor their teen’s driving behavior in a supportive way can cut their teen’s crash risk in half?
According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) Center for Injury Research and Prevention, Teens who say their parents monitor their activities in a helpful supportive way are:
30% less likely to talk on a cell phone while driving
HALF as likely to speed
70% less likely to drink and drive
2X as likely to wear seat belts
Be the example. Make sure your example is one that you want your teen driver to follow when driving. When a parent models dangerous behaviors it is very hard to convince teens not to follow their lead. Start now to be a model for these safe driving behaviors:
- No cell phone use – hands-free or hand-held – including at stoplights
- Don’t speed
- Always wear a seat belt when you’re in the car
- Know where you’re going before turning on the car engine
- Refrain from road rage
- Do not drive impaired
- Do not eat, play with the radio, apply makeup etc.
- Do not tailgate
- Be a good passenger
- Click here for more information about safe driving
For your son/daughter to obtain a learner permit at the age of 15:
- They must carry a learner permit for six (6) months before being able to apply for a driver license at the age of 16.
- Must complete a driver education course after the learner permit is issued.
- Must complete the online Traffic Safety and Trends Exam before license is issued.
- Pass an eye (vision) test, written knowledge test and driving skills test.
- Complete 40 hours of driving with parent, 10 of which are after dark.
- You must sign for financial responsibility until they are the age of 18. You can at any time and for any reason withdraw your signature and this would cancel your minor’s driver license. Call the Driver License Division Customer Service with questions.
- Your minor that is younger than 17 cannot drive in Utah between the hours of 12:00 am and 5:00 am, there are some exceptions stated above.
- Your minor that is 16 or 17 may not drive with any passengers who are not an immediate family member until six (6) months from the date the license was issued, “no driving with friends for the first six (6) months.“
- Your minor cannot operate a motorcycle until they have tested and received a motorcycle endorsement
You may obtain your entry-level learner permit to drive if you are at least 15 years of age:
It is recommended you have a learner permit before taking a driver education course. A driver education course is required to obtain your Utah driver license for anyone 18 years of age and younger.
Ready to get your learner permit? Please do the following:
- Complete the online driver license application and after you’ve completed the application, you will be directed to schedule a learner permit appointment. Click here to get started.
- Smile! Your photo will be taken.
- Proof of identity
- Name and DOB (i.e. birth certificate, passport)
- Provide social security card
- Provide two (2) documents of Utah residence address. If under age 18, proof of residence can be mail that is sent to your parent/legal guardian’s address.
- Visit required documentation page for what is acceptable proof of each type of document required.
- Pass the 50-question written knowledge test, study this driver handbook.
- Driving skills test will be required when ready to apply for your driver license.
- Pass the eye (vision) test.
- Parent/legal guardian must sign for financial responsibility (17 and under only).
- Submit a nonrefundable fee of $19.00.
- The $19.00 fee for the learner permit entitles the applicant to not more than three (3) attempts to pass the written knowledge test within one year.
- After three (3) attempts, applicant will be required to pay an additional fee. You may renew a learner permit by paying a $19.00 renewal fee and completing the application process again. However, all documentation you furnished for your original learner permit is on file and is not required to obtain a renewal or duplicate learner permit.
15, 16, and 17 years old the learner permit entitles you to operate a regular motor vehicle only if:
- An approved driving instructor, parent or legal guardian who is licensed, is occupying the seat beside the applicant.
- The responsible adult who signed for financial responsibility, who is a licensed driver, is occupying the seat beside the applicant.
- Allows for other passengers in the vehicle.
- The learner permit is in the applicant’s immediate possession.
Graduated Driver Licensing laws, or GDL laws, include some restrictions that protect you and your teen:
- They delay the full license while teens are learning in safe conditions.
- They protect teens from situations known to increase crash risk.
- They help parents gradually increase their new drivers’ independence as they learn good driving habits to be successful and safe drivers.
Since 1999 when the GDL program was instituted in Utah, parents have seen a 69% decrease in the number of teens ages 15–17 killed in motor vehicle crashes (Utah Department of Transportation).
The bottom line is that the GDL laws are important because they save lives.
Learner Permit Requirements by Age
Please implement the laws below in your teen’s driving practice and remember, it is vitally important that your teen get the minimum 40 hours (10 at night) of drive time.
|Driver Age||Required Learner Permit Holding Period||Required Test to Apply for License||Co-Signing Adult on Application||Driver Education Course Required||Driving Hours Required|
|15||6 Months and until age 16|| ||Yes||Yes||40 (10 after dark)|
|16||6 months||Yes||Yes||40 (10 after dark)|
|17||6 months||Yes||Yes||40 (10 after dark)|
|18||None|| ||No||Yes||40 (10 after dark)|
|19 or older||None||No||Yes**||40 (10 after dark)|
**If you are 19 years old or older, you can skip the driver education course as long as you can prove you drove 40 hours (10 after dark) and have had a learner permit for at least 3 months.
Minor (First Time) Driver License Requirements by Age
Please implement these laws AFTER YOUR TEEN HAS THEIR MINOR DRIVER LICENSE
|Driver Age||Nighttime Driving Restrictions||Exceptions to Nighttime Driving Restrictions||Front Seat Passenger Restrictions with a Learner Permit||Other Passenger Restrictions||Exceptions to Other Passenger Restrictions|
|16||12 a.m. to 5 a.m.||Front seat passenger must be a parent/guardian, driving instructor or adult who co-signed the permit application||If you have a license: No passengers except immediate family until 6 months after receiving a minor license||
|17||None||Not Applicable||Front seat passenger must be a parent/guardian, driving instructor or adult who co-signed the permit application||If you have a license: No passengers except immediate family until 6 months after receiving a minor license||
|18||None||Not Applicable||Front seat passenger must be a licensed driver at least 21 years of age||None||Not Applicable|
|19 or older||None||Not Applicable||Front seat passenger must be a licensed driver at least 21 years of age||None||Not Applicable|
Other important laws
- Any use of a cell phone while driving is illegal for all drivers under age 18.
- The Not-a-Drop law states that absolutely no alcohol or drugs in your system or in the car while driving.
18 years and older – the learner permit entitles you to operate a regular motor vehicle only if:
- A person 21 years of age or older, who must be a licensed driver, is occupying the seat beside the applicant.
- Learner permit must be in the applicant’s immediate possession.
19 years and older – driver education is not required. You have two (2) options available for obtaining a Utah driver license:
- Complete a driver education course. This would allow you to avoid having to hold a learner permit for 90 days. If you choose this option you will need to apply for a learner permit with us prior to taking a driver education course (learner permit process and entitlements listed above); or
- Do not take a driver education course and you will need to hold a learner permit for 90 days (see learner permit process and entitlements above). You will also be required to complete 40 hours of practice driving (10 at night.)
Resources For Parents
Utah's GDL Laws
Graduated driver licensing allows new drivers to learn driving skills over time and gain the experience needed to become safe drivers. Teens receive a “limited driver license” and have certain driving restrictions such as no night-time driving, limitations on who can be in the vehicle with them and the amount of supervised driving time they must have before getting a full license.