As a teen, getting your driver license can be one of the most anticipated milestones in your adolescence. It can signal a little bit of freedom and a lot of new responsibility. It's a new road, literally, in your progress toward becoming an adult.
Sometimes the excitement of learning to drive can overshadow what an important step it really is, and so teens don't always prepare as well as they could from the start. The state of Nevada, however, is serious about preparing you to be a safe and secure driver, and has created a lot of help along the way.
Things to Help You Prepare
First off is the Nevada Driver's Handbook. Learn it and live it. It contains all the rules of the road and the safety information you'll need so you can take to the streets with confidence.
Second, make the most of your behind-the-wheel practice time with the Beginning Driver Training Guide. This 48-page manual covers all the most basic driving skills and can be a helpful tool. If you're able to master all the skills in the book, you'll most likely be able to pass your driving test without a lot of hassle.
Also valuable for every new driver is the website called Bad Driving: What's Your Excuse?. Presented as a joint partnership between Clark County, the DMV, and other businesses, it offers a wide range of helpful information about safe driving.
The Application Process
Applying for your license, especially when you're under 18, will involve a lot of steps and a lot of requirements. Rather than being there to make your life harder, the process is designed to produce young drivers who are well prepared and ready to take on the new responsibility―and power―of operating a motor vehicle.
You can find complete details on the application process elsewhere. A basic overview, however, is listed below:
- Take a driver education course, either through your high school or from a DMV-approved third-party provider.
- Obtain your instruction permit. This allows you to begin your behind-the-wheel experience.
- Complete at least 50 hours of driving experience, accompanied by a licensed adult at all times. At least 10 of those hours should be gained during nighttime hours.
- Obtain your regular license by passing the written test and driving test.
The Fine Print
Once you've obtained your regular license, as a teen you'll still be held to a few extra rules for a little while. This is the state's way of easing you into your new driving role, even though it might feel a little bit like babysitting at first:
- As long as you're under 18, you will be subject to a driving curfew. You will not be allowed to drive between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless you're driving to or from work or another scheduled event like a school function. If you're stopped by law enforcement, they have the right to ask you for some type of proof that you're driving for those reasons.
- For the first three months of being licensed, you will not be allowed to transport anyone under the age of 18, unless they're immediate family members. If you ignore this law and are stopped by law enforcement, the restriction could be extended to six months or more, and you also may have to pay a fine.
- The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for drivers under the age of 21 is 0.02%. With most body types, even one drink will put them over that limit. You could be immediately arrested if pulled over and tested by law enforcement.
- Until you reach age 18, your parents have the right to request the cancellation of your driver license at any time. Nevada law states that if the request is granted, you will be required to surrender your license.
Everyone always says driving is a privilege, not a right, and while that may sound like adult-speak designed to keep you in your place, more than anything it's a sign of just how important safe driving is. Unsafe drivers usually end up hurting not only themselves, but also other people and property.
Statistics can be sobering, but they can also be a good reminder at the right moment. According to a national insurance association:
- Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers.
- Sixteen-year-olds have the highest crash rate of any other driver age group.
- Fifty-three percent of teen crashes happen on the weekend.
The Good News
Aside from all the ominous statistics, getting your driver license is still a huge accomplishment, and something to look forward to. With practice comes experience, little by little, and if you start out with a solid foundation of education and knowledge, you can soon be counted among the safe and secure drivers on Nevada highways.