Cop Corner

Welcome to the new monthly feature, Cop Corner. This regular feature will help keep parents on top of what's going on with teens in our community.

By Officer Ken McNeill
Pleasanton Police Department

Congratulations! You just got your driver’s license. Now you can drive your friends to school, right? Hmmm. Let me think … NO!

Regardless of your recently acquired skills behind the wheel, there are driving restrictions when you have a California provisional drivers license. Those restrictions are there for a reason. Most crashes involving teen drivers are a result of inexperience, risk-taking, poor judgment and poor decision making. It takes time and practice to achieve that driver know-how, skill and judgment that we police officers appreciate.

Violating your agreement to follow those restrictions could result in heavy fines from the court, community service or both. Worse yet, when your parents find out, you may lose your driving privilege altogether.

As a reminder, the law states that during their first 12 months, unless accompanied by a parent or other licensed driver who is at least 25 years old, a provisional driver under the age of 18 may not transport passengers under 20 years of age at any time and they may not drive between the hours of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

These restrictions include driving a brother or sister somewhere. This is often where the most confusion lies with many parents. The only time is it alright to drive a sibling who is under 20 years old is when reasonable transportation is unavailable (bicycle or within walking distance is considered reasonable) and it is necessary for the provisional driver to drive an immediate family member. In this case, you must have a signed note from your parent that includes the reason why and date the necessity will end. Parents should be aware they may have to stand before the traffic judge to justify that immediate need.

Other exceptions include:
  • A medical necessity when reasonable transportation alternatives are inadequate. The note must be signed by a physician and contain the medical reason and probable date of recovery.
  • A school-authorized activity. The note must be signed by your school principal, dean or his/her designee.
  • An employment necessity and the need to operate a vehicle as part of your employment. The note must be signed by your employer verifying employment.
So remember, your first year of driving should be used to learn how to do just that – DRIVE.

If you have a question or would like to see a specific topic addressed, please send a request to foothillnews@me.com.

Thank you to Officer Ken McNeill for providing this valuable service to the Foothill community.