Santa Rosa County Judge Robert Hilliard sentenced a Florida Panhandle teenage driver to six months’ probation, as well ordering her to speak about the crash at her high school and revoking her driving privileges for a year; her mother will serve time in prison for letting her drive. The teen driver was 15 when her SUV crashed into a car driven by Margaret Catyb’s son in June. Catyb of Dracut, Mass., died at a hospital. Catyb’s family asked the court not to sentence the teen to jail because of her age.
In order to earn a learner’s license, one must be at least 15 years old and must show proof that one completed a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education course, or have a license from another jurisdiction, and a Parental Consent Form, which must be signed in the presence of a driver license examiner or notarized if a parent or guardian will not be present. If one is under 18 and is not married, one parent or legal guardian must sign one’s license application. Step-parents may not sign unless they have legally adopted the juvenile.
One will also be required to take A Written Test covering road Rules, particularly general questions about traffic laws, and road signs, testing one’s knowledge and recognition of the signs one might see on the road way. One must also pass a vision and hearing test. These tests are all meant to ensure that one is knowledgeable of the responsibilities of driving and the conditions one might face on the road.
When one is granted a learner’s license, particularly at the age of 15, one may only drive during daylight hours during the first three months and until 10 p.m. The adolescent driver must always drive with a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old and occupies the front passenger seat. In this particular situation, the adolescent driver’s mother allowed her 15-year-old to drive alone.
Parents can actually do a lot to help protect the lives of their young teenage drivers on the road by setting an example and taking parental responsibility. This principle is particularly important in Florida because Florida’s Graduated Driver License (GDL) mandates only go so far in setting the rules for adolescent drivers. Parents can take the GDL a step further and have set consequences if the household rules are not met.
Parents of these adolescent drivers could also set additional limits in regards to activities in the car, including phone usage and passenger numbers. Statistics show that 16 and 17 year-olds that carry just one passenger in the car increase their crash risk by nearly 50%, simply because of the extra distraction.
One can hope that a teenager will not bear the burden of a heavy prison sentence, or one can obtain an experienced Jacksonville traffic crimes defense attorney to fight for one’s case and ensure one’s rights and defenses are known and protected. One should not have to face an army of difficult legal problems alone. One needs an experienced attorney.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Source: Teen, mom sentenced in fatal Florida Panhandle crash, The Boston-Herald