Q: My 16-year-old son just earned his driver’s license last week and wants to drive his friends to the movies. Can he drive with others in the vehicle?

A: Once a minor passes their driver’s test they are issued a “provisional” driver’s license. A minor’s license is “provisional” for 12 months. A provisional license only allows a minor to drive with someone over the age of 20 and limits the time they can drive from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. This means you cannot give anyone (your cousin, brother, sister, friend, etc.) a ride unless they are older than 20 or you have a legal guardian or supervisor over the age 25 present in the car.

There are some exceptions to this law. The law states that when reasonable transportation is not available and it is necessary for your 16 year old to drive, the legal guardian may grant the minor the authority to drive before 5 a.m. or after 11 p.m. The guardian must prepare a signed note, which must be kept in the minor’s possession, explaining the necessity of the exception and the date and time when the minor is allowed to drive.

There are other exceptions for medical, school, and employment reasons. If there is some sort of medical issue, the note must be signed by your physician and contain the diagnosis and probable date of recovery. If there is a school authorized activity, the note must be prepared by the school and signed by the principal or their designee. If the minor needs to operate a vehicle as part of his or her employment, a note must be prepared and signed by their employer.

If you have any questions regarding your minor’s driving privilege, please visit the department of motor vehicles website at www.dmv.ca.gov.

Q: My neighbor and I are having a dispute over something that is non-criminal in nature. Is there anyone I can talk to besides the courthouse or police department to help me resolve this dispute?

A: Yes, the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs provides free mediation and conciliation service to county residents. The program offers a fast and convenient alternative to the time consuming process of using crowded courts to resolve disputes. If you do not reach resolution through the mediation process, you still are able to go to court.

This mediation service would be scheduled at a time and place convenient for both parties, or you can even conduct the mediation over the telephone. When one party decides to mediate, Dispute Settlement Service will contact the other party in the dispute, explain the mediation process and invite them to participate.

This dispute settlement service will be able to work in resolving most conflicts between consumers and vendors; landlords and tenants; neighbors, businesses, real estate and homeowner/condominium associations. The mediation service does not assist with any incident involving criminal complaints, disputes involving child custody, disputes where restraining orders are in place for either party, or eviction disputes where an unlawful detainer has been filed.

So before standing in line in a crowded courthouse, try the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs mediation service. The Department of Consumer Affairs can be contacted at (213) 974-0825 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. There are no court filing fees, attorney fees or any other cost for either party. Mediations are scheduled at the convenience of both parties, often within a few weeks, and you won’t have to spend a full day in court waiting for your case to be heard.

For more information about Dispute Settlement Service, please call (213) 974-0825 or visit their website at: http://consumer-affairs.co.la.ca.us

Registering seniors

From time to time, our officers are called upon to assist a lost senior citizen or dependent adult. These individuals may be disoriented or suffer from memory loss, making it difficult for officers to identify them and return them home safely.

The Identification Registry was created to provide officers access to a database that would enable them to quickly match characteristics of the lost individual to those of persons registered in the system. This voluntary registry provides peace of mind to caregivers and family members, and ensures a prompt return of the individual to the safety and comfort of their home. For more information, please contact Claudia Nava, Elder Services liaison, at (310) 458-8451.

Information contained in the registry is strictly confidential and for the exclusive use of the Santa Monica Police Department.

To register a senior or dependent adult, please complete the Registry Information Form, which can be found on our website at www.santamonicapd.org, including an attached photograph of the individual, and mail to:

Santa Monica Police Department

Attn: Claudia Nava

333 Olympic Dr.

Santa Monica, Calif.

90401

Photograph will be returned after it is scanned into the registry

This column was prepared by NRO Joseph Cortez, Beat 4 (Montana Avenue to Interstate 10, 20th Street to Ocean Avenue, excluding Downtown). He can be reached at (424) 200-0684.

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