Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, so becoming a safe driver is one of the smartest and most responsible actions you can take for yourself, your family and others on the road with you.
Virginia's teen driving laws help keep those 18 and younger safe on the roadways. Follow these laws to avoid being ticketed, and most importantly, to prevent death and injury.
Safe, Responsible Driving Begins with You
- Wear your seat belt to prevent ejection, which almost always means death.
- Buckle up even in the back seat. Drivers are twice as likely to die in frontal crashes when back-seat passengers are unbuckled.
Get Enough Sleep
- Teens need at least nine hours of sleep, which allows you to stay alert while driving.
Always Drive Sober
- Alcohol use by people under 21 is prohibited in Virginia. The penalties for Virginia's "zero tolerance" law regarding for teens includes losing your license for a year and fines or community service. Alcohol and illegal drugs slow reaction time and distort reality, making you think you're driving well when you're not.
- When lives are at stake, speak up. Always ride with sober drivers, and always buckle up and insist everyone else buckles up.
- Not buckling up, speed, inexperience and alcohol are reasons for fatalities and serious injuries in single-vehicle crashes, the most common type of crash involving teens.
- When first learning to drive, respect the ground rules your parents and caregivers set and stick to them. Pay attention to advice from experienced drivers.
Keep Your Distance and Follow a Safe Speed
- Keep four seconds of following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Tailgating, speeding and underestimating dangerous situations are some of the main factors in teen vehicle deaths.
Focus on the Road
- Texting while driving is prohibited for all drivers in Virginia, no matter their age.
- Driving is a complex task and requires your full attention. Examples of distractions are blasting the music, loading up your car with friends and using your phone which is illegal in Virginia for anyone while driving a motor vehicle.