CDC: Teen Drivers Need Tighter Curfews

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Earlier driving curfews for teens could save lives.

The CDC recommends all states follow the example of New York and adopt a driving curfew of 9 p.m for drivers with a GDL. Photo courtesy State Farm via Flickr.

If there’s one thing teens hate, it’s limitations. Nonetheless, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say teen drivers need more, particularly when it comes to driving at night. A new study by the CDC suggests earlier curfews for 16- and 17-year-olds with graduated driver’s licenses (GDL) could save lives.

Teen drivers typically receive a GDL, which allows them to drive without adult supervision under specific conditions. In every state except Vermont, one of those conditions is a driving curfew, also called a nighttime driving restriction (NDR). The objective of such curfews is to prevent teens from driving during high risk times until they have sufficient experience.

The CDC study found that from 2009 to 2014, 31% of teen crashes occurred at night. Of those, 57% happened before midnight. However, 23 states set their curfews at midnight or later — well after when most crashes occur. In fact, only 0.8% of teen travel takes place after midnight, rendering such late curfews ineffective.  

The CDC recommends all states adopt a driving curfew of 9 p.m for drivers with a GDL. New York is one of only three states that currently have a 9 p.m. curfew in place.

In New York State, drivers under the age of 17 are permitted to drive after 9 p.m. only to travel between home and work or school. The exception is New York City, which prohibits driving entirely under the age of 18.

Violation of GDL restrictions can result in a suspended license for 60 days. Similarly, teen drivers with a junior permit or license who are convicted of a serious traffic violation — one that carries three points or more — or two other traffic violations can also have their licence suspended for 60 days. Teens who are convicted of a serious traffic violation or two other violations within the first six months after a suspension could see their licence revoked.

If your teen driver has been ticketed for violating his or her driving curfew, or for any other traffic offense, it is essential that you retain an attorney and avoid the most serious consequences. Adam H. Rosenblum of the Rosenblum Law Firm is an experienced criminal defense and traffic ticket attorney with offices in New York and New Jersey. Email him or call 888-203-2619 for a free consultation about your case.

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This post was written by Adam Rosenblum


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