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Can a college student with his permit drive a relative’s car to practice?

May 12, 2015 by Steven M. Gursten

Many questions about teens and their driving permits are rolling in now that spring is upon us. These questions seem to be focused on the circumstances that new drivers are allowed to drive under Michigan’s teen driving law, which is a graduated driving law that has restrictions on when a new driver can get behind the wheel, what times and with how many passengers in the vehicle.

Here is the latest: What if a teen driver wants to drive a relative’s car?

Q. My nephew is a college student and has his student driving permit. Can he drive my vehicle to practice?

A. Thank you for your question. Interestingly, I recently wrote a blog post about an issue that’s similar to the one you raise. Specifically, I was asked if a parent needs to have Michigan No Fault auto insurance for their teen driver who is driving on a Michigan drivers-training permit.

My conclusion, which coincided with that of several insurance professionals, was that No Fault coverage was not needed. Here’s a link to the blog post: “Does a teen driver with a permit need Michigan No Fault insurance?”

Now, of course, your situation is slightly different. Accordingly, to be on the safe side, I advise that you take the following two steps:

  1. Review your auto insurance policy for any possible, relevant coverage exclusions, and
  2. Talk to your auto insurance agent for his assessment and advice on how you auto insurance company may view the situation you have described.

Michigan’s teen driving law

As a refresher, here are the restrictions set under Michigan’s teen driving law for all teens driving on a “Level 2″ license:

  • A new passenger restriction prevents teens from having more than one passenger under the age of 21 in the car — unless the individual is a member of the driver’s immediate family, or the driver is traveling to or from school or a school-sanctioned event.
  • Driving between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. is prohibited — unless driving to or from employment, or with a parent, legal guardian, or licensed adult over 21 years old.

A “Level 2″ driver is part of Michigan’s graduated licensing approach, in which teens gain more driving privileges as they get older and acquire more driving experience. A Level 2 license holder must be at least 16 years old and have successfully completed segment 1 and 2 of a driver’s education program approved by the state, as well as passed a driving skills test and presented a skills test certificate. A teen driver cannot have a car accident or violation in the 90 days prior to applying for a Level 2 license.

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