Minor drivers between the ages of 16-19 are at high risk for auto accidents, endangering both themselves and others sharing the road. According to the Center for Disease Control, auto accidents are the leading killer of teenagers, with seventeen auto accident fatalities a day occurring in 2010. The Chicago auto accident attorneys regularly file compensation claims for our clients' auto accident cases caused by inexperienced, minor drivers. If you were injured in a collision caused by a minor driver, contact our office now for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
New motorists are still learning the skills and habits that it takes to become safe drivers. Teens are three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than drivers over 20 years of age. Because of that, the financial liability of teen drivers increases dramatically compared to more experienced motorists. This liability can extend to the teen's parents if their child caused an accident-related injury or fatality.
Illinois Teen Driving Requirements
Illinois has adopted a graduated driving license (GDL) system to give teenagers that allows them to gain the skills they need to become safe drivers in lower-risk driving situations. This system has three levels that must be completed to gain full adult driving privileges.
- Instruction permit. At 15-years or older, minor drivers may apply to receive their instruction permit. They must pass a written exam and perform 50 hours of practice driving before they are eligible for a license. With an instruction permit, teen motorists may only drive during limited hours and with a supervising licensed driver over the age of 21 in the vehicle.
- Initial driving license. Once a minor driver has turned 16-years old and has had their Illinois instructional permit for at least nine months with no traffic violations, they can apply for their initial graduated driving license. The teen must pass a behind-the-wheel road test to be issued their license. This license gives them the ability to legally drive by themselves, however, there are specific restrictions on driving at night and with other minors in the vehicle.
- Full driving license. When a teen turns 18-years old and has had no driving violations in the prior six months, they may apply to receive their full driving license. This license gives them full driving privileges without time or passenger restrictions.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the GDL system does reduce the risk for teen drivers and other drivers sharing the road by giving these new drivers an opportunity to practice safe driving under restricted conditions. However, since minor drivers are still inexperienced and often over estimate their own abilities, even the GDL system cannot prevent all injury accidents and teens still cause a larger percentage auto accidents.
Teen Auto Insurance And Accident Liability
Due to their higher risk of causing a motor vehicle accident, young drivers are more expensive to insure under an auto insurance policy. However, like all drivers in Illinois, teens must have obtained liability insurance coverage to drive. Although the minimum liability coverage may be a less expensive option for driving legally, these policies only offer $20,000/40,000 coverage in bodily injury of other drivers and $15,000 in property damage. Since teen drivers are more likely to be in a serious or fatal crash, full coverage with higher monetary ceilings should be considered.
The financial responsibility of a parent with a teen driver is another factor to consider when choosing accident liability coverage limits should the young motorist cause an accident. Under Illinois law, if a minor is performing family or parental business, such as running household errands and cause an accident, the parents may be held financially liable. This can be difficult to prove and is determined on a case-by-case basis but the liability can put parent’s in financial jeopardy if they do not have adequate insurance coverage on their teenager. Fully insuring their teenage driver by purchasing a higher insurance premium may protect the family from even higher financial costs if their child causes an injury accident.
Chicago Auto Accident Lawyers Helping People Injured In Car Accidents With Teen Drivers
Every injury sustained in an Illinois car accident must be addressed with the victim's best interest in mind. In situations where a person is injured by a teen driver, other aspects of the accident must be considered to ensure that insurance coverage for the accident does not contain any exclusions or other clauses which could result in coverage exclusions. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are experienced with the many unique issues encountered when teen drivers injure others in accidents. We welcome you to contact us to discuss your legal options in the wake of a Chicago auto accident. 888-424-5757
Learn more about teen driving requirements and statistics in Illinois: