New teen driving law begins July 1 |

New teen driving law begins July 1

Greg Risling

Teens hoping for a speedy lane to a driver’s license will have to slow down beginning July 1.

A new law penned by California Sen. Tim Leslie, R-Tahoe City, will provide longer waits and adult supervision for those under the age of 18 eager to get their license. Supporters of the Brady-Jared Teen Driver Safety Act say it rewards teen-agers with more privileges after gaining experience.

Some of the provisions teens must follow include:

— The waiting period between getting a learner’s permit and a license will be increased from 30 days to six months.

— They must complete 50 hours of driving instruction by their parents, 10 being at night.

— Once obtaining a license, new drivers can’t carry anyone under 20 (unless they have a passenger who is licensed and over 25) for the first six months.

— Those under 18 can’t drive between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. (unless a passenger is licensed and over 25).

A violation of the new law could result in a $35 fine or at least eight hours of community service. Teens also can’t be pulled over by law enforcement unless they are breaking the law some other way.

Teens will be exempt from the law if there is a family or medical emergency or traveling to and from work.

Supporters, which include the California State Automobile Association, hope that the new law will reduce the number of accidents and hammers home the message of vehicle safety.

A 1997 study conducted by the California Office of Traffic Safety shows that by the year 2007, 7.5 percent of the state’s population will be adolescents ages 15 to 19. In 1996, 350 teens in the same age category were killed in auto accidents and more than 35,000 were injured.

According to Arthur Anderson, OTS director, the surge in the teen population will increase the number of young drivers across the state.

“We are taking steps today to prevent future tragedies on our roadways,” he said. “Where public safety is involved, we have to be proactive.”

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