There Are Some Exceptions to Virginia’s Juvenile Passenger Rules

In the state of Virginia, it's technically illegal for a 16-year-old driver to have more than one underage passenger in his vehicle, or for a 17-year-old driver to chauffeur around more than three passengers under the age of 18. There is one major exception to this rule, though: members of the driver's family. If your 17-year-old son has just obtained his driver's license, it's perfectly legal for him to take his little sister and her friends to an amusement park (though, depending on his driving skills, you may or may not want to trust him with this assignment).

There are also a number of circumstances in which police probably won't choose to formally cite a juvenile driver with more than the allowed number of underage passengers in his car. If your daughter can make the case that she was behind the wheel of an SUV stuffed with her high-school friends because she was the designated driver to and from a party, the authorities may choose to overlook this lesser violation since it prevented a potential tragedy. Likewise, if your 16-year-old son had no choice but to take a couple of his underage friends to the hospital, or needed to respond to some other emergency, the police will likely choose to look the other way (provided, of course, that they believe his story).

Flouting Virginia's juvenile passenger laws is not without risk; a violation can result in the suspension of your driver's license until you turn 18. Questions? Call the experienced attorneys of Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman for a free consultation!

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