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Rules of the road: Driving restrictions exist for 16-, 17-year-old workers

November 22, 2010
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 teen workers to drive. According to the 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 legislation before allowing a teen to drive in the course of work. A 17- year-old must: • hold a valid state 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 their work trips 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 non-employee passengers 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 concern 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.