Driving Instructor Claims Essential Regulations for Teens Often Dismissed
NEAR EDINBURG – The owner of a Rio Grande Valley driving school said rules and regulations for teen drivers are in place for a reason, but they’re often overlooked.
Jose Hernandez has been teaching driver’s education for nearly half a century. He said teen drivers are most vulnerable to accidents due to their inexperience.
Hernandez explained state laws that protect minors behind the wheel and other on the roadways. He said individuals may not drive a motor vehicle if they’re:
1. Driving with more than one passenger in the vehicle under the age of 21 who is not a family member.
2. Driving between midnight and 5:00 a.m. unless the operation of the vehicle is necessary for the driver to work, to attend or participate in a school-related activity or due to a medical emergency.
Hernandez said individuals who are under 18 years of age are restricted from using a wireless communication device, including a hands-free device, until they reach the age of 18, except in the case of an emergency.
After six months have passed, he said both the passenger and time restrictions are waived.
Hernandez said teens with a valid learners permit must complete classroom and behind-the-wheel portions of driver education. Those teens must be 16 and have a learners permit for a minimum of six months.
Once they complete the classes, he said they’re eligible to take their driving test followed by additional driving hours required by the state.
Hernandez said he understands sometimes teens break the law because their parents may not know the law or simply because they allow them to.
“We tell them that they're breaking the law, but sometimes parents allow them because the parents don't have time to take them,” he said.
Hernandez wants parents to realize they are the most influential teachers and decision-makers for their teens. He added they are the ones entrusted with knowing the law and keeping them safe.