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Q

I have had my instructional drivers permit [California] for 3 months now. I was wondering if my little brothers [ages 13 and 5] are allowed to ride with me when my parents are in the car as well?


A

In California the first step to getting your license is to get your instruction permit which you have. Because you are under 18, your permit and driver license are called, "Provisional." This means you have additional restrictions placed on your permit and driver license that adults (18 and over) do not have.

According to the CA Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), your provisional instruction permit has the following restrictions:

  • You must obey the traffic laws
  • You must drive without a collision
  • You must drive with your parent, guardian, spouse, or an adult 25 years of age or older, who has a valid California driver license.
  • You must hold your permit for six months before you can take your driving test to get your driver license.

The CA DMV nor the Driver Handbook for California mention any passenger restrictions for those with the instruction permit so it would appear that your brothers could ride in the car with you as long as you have your supervising adult with you. If you have questions about the restrictions and conditions you have on you as a permit holder, you should contact the CA DMV directly for answers and clarification.

Once you move up to a driver's license (provisional one since you are under 18) you will have passenger restrictions and time restrictions on you. The Driver Manual for California notes that teenage drivers have restrictions for the first year (12 months) after they are licensed.

During the first 12 months, a teenager cannot drive between 11:00 pm and 5:00 am and cannot transport passengers under age 20 unless accompanied by a parent or guardian, a licensed driver 25 years of age or older, or a licensed or certified driving instructor.

This means you cannot give anyone under 20 years old (your friends, your brother(s), sister(s), cousin(s), etc.) a ride unless you have a licensed parent, a guardian or other adult 25 years old or older in the car with you. You are also not allowed to drive between 11 pm and 5 am during your first year after getting your license unless you have a licensed parent, a guardian or other adult 25 years old or older in the car with you.

With a provisional license, you can drive by yourself between the hours of 5 am and 11 pm. If you are under 18, you cannot be employed to drive a motor vehicle.

Since July 1, 2008, minors under 18 years of age in CA are now prohibited from driving a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone (cannot use a hand-free device) and/or a mobile service device (pagers, texting device, laptops, etc). There are exceptions which include:

  • Emergency calls may be made to law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department, etc.
  • Calls made while driving on private property.

If you are cited for using a cell phone or other mobile device while driving fines are $20 first offense plus court fees and $50 second or subsequent offense plus court fees. With the addition of penalty assessments, the fines can be more than triple the base fine amount. The violation is also reportable offense, meaning it would go on your driving record, however, the CA DMV will not assign a violation point.


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