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Do South Carolina’s Graduated Licenses Actually Prevent Accidents and Injuries Among Young Drivers?

South Carolina is one of the many states that uses a graduated driver licensing program in an attempt to prevent accidents, injuries, and deaths among young drivers. Drivers can apply for a learner’s permit when they are 15 years old and must hold the learner’s permit for at least six months before they can apply for a conditional driver’s license.

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According to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, a class D learner’s permit, allows young drivers to operate a motor vehicle between the hours of 6 a.m. to midnight, only if a licensed driver who has one year of valid driver’s experience is accompanying the novice driver and is sitting in the front seat. Learners may also operate the motor vehicle between midnight and 6 a.m., but only if a parent or guardian is sitting in the front seat, accompanying the minor.

South Carolina also uses a conditional and restricted license system. Drivers who have held a learner’s permit for 180 days are eligible for a conditional license. With a conditional license, a driver may only operate a motor vehicle alone during daytime hours, and is not allowed to transport more than two minor passengers without having another adult in the car. A special restricted license for 16 year old drivers is subject to similar terms and restrictions. Drivers holding restricted licenses and conditional licenses may drive during evening hours, but only if a parent or guardian or licensed driver over 21 years of age is in the vehicle. With both conditional and restricted licenses, between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m., a licensed parent or legal guardian must accompany the driver.

These conditions are placed on learning and novice drivers to prevent accidents and mitigate risk. It is known that night driving is riskier, and it is also known that young drivers are more likely to get into an accident if they are transporting more underage passengers.

But does the graduated and restricted license program really work? According to Accident Analysis and Prevention, learner and restricted licensed drivers were found to be at high or even increased risk of accidents when they chose to drive on actual roads. The study assessed the crash data of youth who were able to drive with a learner’s permit. Researchers found that these youth, when they were driving on actual roads, were more likely to get into accidents.

Based on the evidence, it seems that drivers with learner’s permits pose a danger to drivers on the road. When accidents occur with learning drivers, often the parent or other responsible adult in the car may be held liable for the accident.

For victims, the effects of any accident can be serious, resulting in lost wages, high medical expenses, and pain and suffering.

If you were injured in an accident, a personal injury lawyer can help you recover the money you deserve. The Drescher Law Firm, L.L.C. works closely with all kinds of accident victims to help them recover money for their expenses and for their pain and suffering.

Personal Injury Attorney Profile

Scott Drescher, Personal Injury Lawyer in Charleston SC. imageMr. Drescher's knowledge and experience in the field of personal injury and wrongful death law have made him an outstanding personal injury and wrongful death attorney in South Carolina. He understands the thinking process of juries, due in part to his educational background in psychology and sociology. He is experienced in trying large civil cases, which has helped him become a very successful trial attorney in Charleston and the surrounding areas.
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