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Employers must heed restrictions

November 22, 2010
16-, 17-year-old employees cannot be too great a ‘driving’ force at work

Teen-age workers can be an ambitious and cost effective source to perform various summertime roles at dealerships, but there are plenty of regulations to adhere to, especially for teens who drive in the course of work. 

According to the 1998 Drive for Teen Employment Act—an ironic name, for the act effectively limits teen driving—17-year-olds may engage in limited driving on public roads and 16-year-olds may drive only on private property, such as dealership lots, while working.

 

Employers should consider specifics of the act before allowing a teen to drive in the course of work. A 17-year-old must: 

  • hold a valid driver’s license;
  • have completed a state-approved driver education course;
  • be instructed that seat belts must be worn; (It’s wise to have them sign a statement to this effect upon hire.)
  • have no moving violations on record when hired.

 

Also, the vehicle a 17-year-old drives neither may weigh more than 6,000 pounds gross vehicle weight nor be used for towing. All driving is limited to daylight hours. Supervisors must ensure that there is ample time for 17-year-olds to complete any work trip during daylight. 

Also, 17-year-olds may not drive in excess of one-third of one workday and one-fifth of a workweek.

 

Vehicle occupancy is limited to three passengers, and the transport of people who are not coworkers is limited to two trips a day. Licensed 16-year-olds may not drive on public roads while on the job. 

Many states, including Illinois, have invoked graduated licensing laws for teens amid rising concerns that the fatality rate for licensed 16-year-old drivers is double the rate for 17-year-olds and four times the rate for all drivers.

 

A violation of the Drive for Teen Employment Act is subject to a $10,000 fine. On-the-job driving by employees 18 and older is not regulated.

 

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