Parents Liable for Teen Driver’s Acts

In the state of Arizona 16 year-old teenager can legally obtain a driver’s license with the cooperation of a parent or guardian. This stipulation is required because the teen is not yet an adult in the eyes of state law. Because of these two facts an Arizona law potentially imposes a significant financial risk to the parents or guardian who signed off on the license until the teen is 18 years-old.

Anyone under 18 years old who applies for an Arizona driver’s license must have their application signed by at least one parent, or under some circumstances by a legal guardian, employer, or other responsible person. Without these signatures a driver’s license will not be issued to anyone under age 18. An adult who signs for a minor’s license assumes responsibility for any damage the minor may cause while operating a motor vehicle, including personal injury to others.

This doesn’t mean that your 16 year-old sons or daughters shouldn’t be allowed to drive; after all gaining a license at 16 is essentially a rite of passage and usually a teen’s first foray into personal responsibility. That of course is the key word- Responsibility. There are 3 important steps to take as a parent or guardian to ensure that you and your minor are covered in case an accident does happen.

  • First of all the parent or guardian of the minor should call their insurance provider and tell them that a minor is now going to be driving the car. Additionally, if the minor owns a car make sure your insurance coverage extends to it as well.
  • Second, always maintain adequate automobile liability insurance coverage. Although the state law does not require this much, limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident should be considered minimum protection.
  • Finally, make sure your children are trained in the proper operation of an automobile. Strive to teach them defensive driving techniques that will enable them to be aware of potentially hazardous situations and how to avoid accidents and personal injury to others while driving.

In extreme situations it is also possible to withdraw or cancel authorization on a minor’s driver’s license. If you choose to go this route the minor’s license will be cancelled.  The specific financial responsibility imposed on the person who signed for the license under this particular law is eliminated if the minor’s license is cancelled.

For more information about parents liability for under-age teen drivers contact us at (800) 272-LAWS (5297)

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