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What Are the Rules for Teen Driver Liability in Indiana?

Aug 29, 2022 | Auto Accident

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Young teen driver driving his with father

Before operating a motor vehicle, Indiana teen drivers must obtain liability insurance coverage. Teens need insurance coverage even if they only have a learner’s permit. The state minimum insurance requirements include:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury per person and $50,000 per accident
  • $25,0000 in property damage per accident

Driving without insurance could lead to up to a $10,000 fine and a license suspension of 90 days to one year. And if you’re caught driving without a license for a second time, you could face a full year without a license and suspension of your vehicle registration. You could have to spend as many as 60 days in jail and pay fines up to $500.

Learn more about restrictions on when a teen can get a learner’s permit and an operator’s license as well as important laws surrounding negligence in case of an accident.

Indiana Teen Driver Laws

Teens are often excited to start driving. At age 15 and a half, teens can enroll to take the learner’s permit written test and vision exam. A learner’s permit allows a teen to drive with a licensed instructor during driver’s education. Once the teen completes the course, they can drive with an authorized relative who is at least 25 years of age. Or if the teen is married, they can drive with their spouse who is at least 21 years of age.

Teens who are 16 years old do not have to take driver’s education before driving with an authorized relative. The driver-in-training must hold their learner’s permit for 180 days before taking the test to earn an operator’s license. 

During those 180 days, the teen should get 50 hours of supervised driving time. The state requires that 10 of those hours be during nighttime. A parent must sign a consent and liability statement with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). Finally, the student driver must pass a driving test. 

Even once a teen earns an operator’s license, they must observe several rules for the first 180 days if they are under the age of 21. These rules are:

  • Not transporting passengers outside of a sibling, child or spouse
  • Not driving from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., other than to attend school, work, or religious activities

Even after 180 days of having an operator’s permit, drivers under the age of 18 are not permitted to drive from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 1-5 a.m. Friday and Saturday. 

If the young driver has someone in the passenger seat who is an approved supervising licensed driver explained above, these rules do not apply. 

And, if the young driver shows certain hardship conditions, the state might waive these requirements up to six months before the driver reaches the age requirements.

Teen Drivers and Negligence

The reason there are added restrictions on teen driving is that drivers ages 16-19 are three times more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident than adults. Parents signing off on their child’s driving training need to understand the seriousness of the situation.

Parents or guardians of teen drivers can be liable for the damages that young drivers cause depending on the circumstances.

That’s because teens have the same duty of care toward others when operating a motor vehicle. They must drive safely just like any other motorist. Failing to do so and causing injuries to other drivers could mean that the parents are liable for financial damages, including medical bills, missed work, property damage, etc.

Stating that the teen is a new driver or lacks experience is not a defense against facing liability for an accident. Parents have a responsibility to oversee driver training and take necessary steps to prevent an inexperienced driver from being in a challenging situation.

If your child was in an accident and you need a team of legal experts to help you sort through the aftermath, Stewart & Stewart can help. Our attorneys know the challenges of teen driver accidents and can provide a free consultation to discuss your options

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