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Teen drivers are more likely to get into an accident than any other type of driver. Research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that 16- to 17-year-old drivers are nine times more likely to be involved in a crash than adults.

So, it’s no surprise that we see, and fight, many infractions incurred by new teenaged drivers.

Washington State has a special program for teens in this age bracket, issuing an “intermediate license” to 16- and 17-year-old drivers. An intermediate license comes with certain restrictions, plus additional penalties for traffic infractions. For the first six months, these teens can’t have any passengers younger than 20, except immediate family members. For the next six months, they may drive no more than three passengers under 20 who aren’t members of their immediate family.

Nighttime driving restrictions also apply to intermediate-license holders. These teens can’t drive between 1-5 a.m., unless they’re with a licensed driver who is at least 25.

Cell phone violations carry strict penalties; a cell phone ticket counts as a strike against a teen’s intermediate license.

If a teen with an intermediate license is cited for any type of moving violation, or a violation of one of these special restrictions, their parents or legal guardian receive a warning letter from the Department of Licensing. If the teen gets a second ticket, the repercussion is a license suspension for six months or until the youth turns 18, whichever comes first. A third violation results in a driving ban until age 18.

From the standpoint of insurance rates, teen driving tickets can be a nightmare for parents. Teens are among the “riskiest” group of drivers to insure because of accident statistics and their lack of driving experience.

For a one-car family, adding a teen driver to their family’s insurance policy typically increases the bill by 44%, according to Two-car families see an average jump of 58%, while three-car families are hit with a 62% average increase.

When ticket costs are added to these pricey insurance rates, parents are looking at a significant expense. Parents must realize that the ramifications of their teen getting tickets while driving on an intermediate license include these long-term insurance consequences on top of the cost of the actual ticket.

Should you use a deferred finding for a teen’s ticket?

I have fought over 10,000 traffic infractions over the past eight years. A common problem I see with teenage drivers is using a “deferred finding” on their first ticket.

The Washington State Legislature created the deferred-finding program to give people an opportunity to keep an infraction off their driving records. Once every seven years, a driver can use a deferred finding for one moving violation and one non-moving violation. The court essentially is pushing the pause button on the ticket and entering into an agreement with the driver. The driver pays a fine, usually $150 to $200, and if they receive no more tickets within a set probationary period, typically six months to one year, then the ticket is dismissed.

A few drawbacks come with deferred findings. First, the driver cannot receive any more tickets while they are on probation. Receiving an additional ticket, would revoke the deal and the individual could be looking at having TWO infractions added to their driving record at the same time. In addition, drivers may only get one of these deferrals every seven years.

My general philosophy on deferrals: use them only if no other options are available.

In my experience with teen drivers, a teen who gets a ticket within their first year of driving typically receives a second one shortly after. I often get calls from parents with the same story: “We used a deferral on my child’s first ticket and they just got a new one. I can’t go back to shuttling them around, and I can’t afford to pay any more for insurance. Is there anything we do?”

Hindsight is 20/20, but please don’t use a deferral on a teenager’s first ticket without first consulting with a traffic ticket attorney. Although this option does give your child an opportunity to keep the ticket off their record, they likely will be looking at a license suspension if they violate the deferral by getting an additional ticket.

For more information on Driving Tickets for Teen Drivers in Washington, call today for a free case evaluation. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (253) 201-2001.

Antonio Garguile

Call Now For A Free Case Evaluation
(253) 201-2001