MINOT — For teenagers, few things are more exciting than getting your license.
For National Teen Driver Safety Week, KX News talked to one new driver about their first year out on the road.
In North Dakota, teen drivers makeup 5 percent of licensed drivers, but are behind the wheel in nearly 20 percent of all crashes, according to the North Dakota Department of Transportation.
They’re generally inexperienced and don’t think they’ll be involved in an accident.
“They feel like they’re invincible. They don’t understand the severity of going how fast they’re going. They haven’t obviously been in a car accident yet, most of them, so they don’t understand the reality of what the speed can do to them and their vehicle,” said Brian Kellebrew, patrol sergeant.
This teen said he has been driving for seven months. He waited over a year to get his license.
“I wanted to make sure that I was super comfortable before I started driving. I didn’t want to get out onto the road and then have no idea what I was doing,” said Carson Erickson, who has been driving for seven months.
He said his parents don’t have too many restrictions on him, they just want to know where he’s at before he gets behind the wheel.
“I like to think that I have a lot of trust with my parents, and I feel like that’s a good thing everybody should have,” said Erickson.
A lot of the accidents the Ward County Sheriff’s Office sees are people who have failed to stop at a stop sign.
Distracted driving and speeding are the two big things the sheriff’s department pulls teens over for. And with winter quickly approaching, they have some tips to try and keep everyone safe.
“Little reminders that I would have for teenagers would be to slow down, give yourself some more space between vehicles. As the winter months come closer and closer, it’s going to get icy out there and you’re going to need that distance in order to stop your vehicle in time,” said Kellebrew.
Teenagers can get up to six points on their license before it is suspended and canceled, meaning the teenager has to go through the entire process again before getting another one.
In North Dakota, teens have to be at least 14 years old to get their permit.
They can get a restricted license at 15, and an unrestricted one at 16.