Dec 22

Jon Zimmerman

Teaching the Teenage Driver (and Ourselves) About the Harsh Reality of a Couple Tickets

by Jon Zimmerman

Most of us drivers know that many traffic tickets negatively affect us by increasing what we pay for insurance, and many of us know that insurance costs more when dealing with teen-aged drivers. But what many of us don't know is that a couple traffic tickets--even certain nonmoving violations--can have an even bigger effect on the teenage driver who is under the age of 18. In fact, two moving violations for a 15, 16, or 17-year-old driver usually results in the suspension of a teenager's driving privilege for six months if the teenager has a permit or driver's license in the State of Washington. If the driver gets a third moving violation, the driver could then be suspended until he/she is 18.  
In Washington, young drivers under the age of 18 are known as intermediate driver license holders, and the consequences of not following the rules, some of them special rules for the intermediate driver, are harsh. As we travel during this holiday season and we see many teenagers on the road this time of year, it's important to understand some special rules and how they apply to teenage drivers. While parents and guardians should know that tickets can be fought, it is important for parents and guardians to educate teenagers about the consequences of getting tickets and ignoring or paying them.
While there are several rules and they apply a little differently in each situation, there are some rules that apply to all drivers younger than 18. Moving and nonmoving offenses can have serious consequences for teenagers who are intermediate drivers in the State of Washington. Most of us know that moving violations, like speeding and not signaling, affect any driver's insurance and privilege to drive.  By the same token, I want to point out the seriousness of even some nonmoving violations for teenage drivers. For most of us, we often don't have to sweat most nonmoving violations. For intermediate drivers, however, many nonmoving violations found in the traffic code count against the "two strikes and you're suspended" consequence. Here are a few common examples:
- a texting citation or a cell phone infraction;
- violating restrictions on the number of passengers some intermediate drivers can have in a motor vehicle;
- violating driving during certain time of day restricted periods.  
The consequences of moving and certain nonmoving violations can result in the suspension of a teenager's driving privilege for at least six months, increased insurance premiums, and even the loss of employment. Because the rules change and often are more harsh on the teenage driver, for questions in specific cases it is best to contact an attorney who understands the laws applying to intermediate drivers. Don’t hesitate to call me if your teenager gets a traffic ticket.

While many teenagers will hopefully never get a traffic ticket, it is important to educate young drivers on the consequences of receiving a traffic ticket and how best to deal with responding to that ticket.