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Who is responsible for underage drivers?

While the state of California allows you to get your license at the age of 16, you are not yet an adult. This means that you cannot be held completely liable should you cause an accident and harm others or damage property. When you get your license, the state makes sure to assign responsibility for you to your parents or guardian. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, your parent or legal guardian must sign your driver's license application. This signature indicates that he or she take financial responsibility for you as a driver.

What this means is that your parent agrees to carry the state minimum required insurance coverage on you and the vehicles you drive. The state minimum coverage is $5,000 for property damage, and $15,000/$30,000 injury or death coverage. Your parent or guardian also is responsible for any damages that insurance does not cover that are a result of your negligence. So, if you get into an accident and cause more than $5,000 in property damage, the owner of the property can take your parent or guardian to court to get the rest of the money due.

It is important to note that your parents or guardians must sign your application. You may have to have both parents sign the form if they share custody. However, if a parent is not a resident of California, then he or she cannot sign for you. All individuals signing the form have to be residents. This information is for education and is not legal advice.

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Haberkorn & Associates
2055 Woodside Rd., Suite 155
Redwood City, CA 94061

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