Parent Responsibility for Teen Driver

January 26, 2018

Colorado Springs

(719) 309-3000

Grand Junction

(970) 287-1173

As a parent of a teen driver, this can be both an exciting and nerve wrecking time in your life. In fact, most insurance agents, and some parents, will say teenagers are in a special risk category all their own when it comes to driving. Most state legislators have recognized this fact as well, and civil statutes have been passed that can be used to hold parents and guardians liable when a teen driver’s negligent or reckless driving ends up causing a car accident.

It is the parent’s responsibility to steer the teen’s driving habits and to know the limitations a teen driver has. Although the driving rules may differ from when you were a teenager, it doesn’t mean you should ignore the advancements to reduce the likelihood of your teen being involved in a automobile accident.

Download the Colorado Driver’s Handbook

Teen Driving Restrictions

Teens with a permit:

Teens in possession of a permit must be accompanied by a driving instructor, parent, legal guardian or a licensed adult 21 years of age or older (that is authorized by parent/guardian) in the front seat, buckled up.

Teen with a license:

  • For the first six months, no passengers under 21 are allowed in the vehicle, unless a parent or other licensed adult driver is in the vehicle.
  • For the following six months, one passenger under the age of 21 is allowed in the vehicle unsupervised.
    • Siblings and passengers with medical emergencies are exceptions
  • At any given time, no more than one passenger is allowed in the front seat of the vehicle.

Mandatory Seat Belts

By law, ALL teen drivers and passenger must wear seat belts and that means no sharing seat belts especially.

Cell Phones and Texting Banned

Teens that are under the age of 18 years old are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving. A teen driver can be fined and may risk losing their license. Exceptions may include emergency calls to the police or fire department.


As a first year licensed driver, your teen must abide by a curfew. That means no driving between midnight and 5 a.m. Unless they are accompanied by an instructor, parent or legal guardian. Exceptions may include: driving to/from school/work (must have a signed statement from school/work), medical emergencies and emancipated minors.

The curfew laws will vary by city or county. To properly follow the curfew in your area, please confirm any restrictions with your local government.

Zero Tolerance for Drunk Driving

Talk to your teen about the dangers of driving drunk or riding with someone who has consumed drugs or alcohol. Driving while under the influence of alcohol – even just a trace of alcohol on minor drivers- is punishable by law.

“Vicarious Liability”: (Get clarity on this issue)

  • At the time when the teen driver is licensed, through something akin to a “co-signing” requirement where the parent or guardian agrees to be held financially responsible if their teen driver causes a car accident
  • At the time when the teen causes a car accident, or
  • Both at the time of licensing and at the time of a car accident


Most states in the United States have passed a law that holds a parent or guardian responsible for their minor driver, under a legal concept known as ‘vicarious liability’ ”.