With the sun setting earlier each day across North Dakota, AAA and the North Dakota Department of Transportation are reminding teens of the state’s night driving provision.
According to state law, teens under age 16 holding a restricted license are prohibited from driving between 9 p.m. or sunset, whichever is later, and 5 a.m. The penalty for a violation is a $20 fee and four points against the driver’s record. There are exemptions for teens driving directly to and from work, school or religious activities.
In addition to the night driving restriction, teens are reminded of primary enforcement provisions of the state’s seat belt and telecommunications, or cell phone, laws. Accordingly, law enforcement officers can stop youth under the age of 18 for seat belt or cell phone violations without there being another violation. Penalties range from a $20 fee up to a $20 fee plus four points. As with adults, committing a traffic violation while distracted can result in a fine of $100.
According to North Dakota crash data, teens are greatly overrepresented in crashes. While they currently make up 5 percent of licensed drivers in the state, they were involved in nearly 20 percent of all crashes in 2018. And the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that, per mile driven, the fatal crash rate for teens is about 4 times as high at night as it is during the day.