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Attorney Sanga Turnbull

Who’s at Fault When a Car Accident Involves a Driver with a Learner’s Permit in Florida?

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2020 | Car Accident

Learning to drive is an essential skill that takes time, practice, and effort. Under Florida law, new drivers under the age of 18 are required to drive with a learner’s permit for a year or until they turn 18.

Also, driving with a learner’s permit comes with a few requirements and limitations, which is why many drivers who get into a car accident with a learner’s permit wonder, “What happens if I violate the rules?” and “Who is at fault when a driver with a learner’s permit is involved in a car crash in Florida?”

Car Accident Involving a Driver with a Learner’s Permit

A student was recently killed in a car accident involving a teenage driver with a learner’s permit. The fatal auto accident occurred on Ralston Road in Plant City, Hillsborough County. A 2004 Ford Expedition was driven by a 16-year-old who held a learner’s permit. The teenage driver was speeding when the vehicle hit a speed bump. As a result, the driver lost control, and the SUV left the roadway and struck a tree.

The 18-year-old passenger was ejected from the SUV and died at the scene. Another passenger inside the vehicle suffered serious injuries. As reported by the Plant City Observer citing Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, the teenage driver violated Florida law when he got behind the wheel without a person at least 21 years of age in the front passenger seat.

Driving with a Learner’s Permit in Florida

Under the Florida Statute Section 322.1615, drivers who are 15 years or older can get a learner’s permit to operate a motor vehicle. However, the statute imposes strict requirements for people driving with a learner’s permit:

  • The driver must be accompanied by a licensed driver who is 21 or older (the licensed driver must be seated in the front passenger seat); and
  • The driver with a learner’s permit may drive only during daylight hours (if three months passed since the date the learner’s permit was issued, the driver is allowed to operate a vehicle until 10 p.m.).

Violating any of the above-mentioned rules while driving with a learner’s permit can result in civil penalties. The penalty depends on the violation and the number of citations on the driver’s record.

Who’s at Fault in a Car Crash Involving a Driver with a Learner’s Permit?

When it comes to determining liability in an auto accident involving a driver with a learner’s permit, the driver’s age is the first factor that will be considered:

  • When the driver is under the age of 18, a parent or legal guardian who signed the teenager’s application for a learner’s permit will be held liable for the crash.
  • When the driver is over the age of 18, the driver does not need anyone to sign their application for a driver’s license (however, the parent or legal guardian may still be held liable for the accident if they allow the driver to use their own motor vehicle).

Schedule a consultation with a Lakeland car accident attorney if you have been in a car crash with a teenage driver or if you are the one holding a learner’s permit. Contact our lawyer at The Turnbull Firm to discuss liability in your case. Call at 863-324-3500.