Maryland Teen Driving Bill Proposes Extending Time New Drivers Must Hold Learner’s Permit and Provisional License

In Maryland, Delegate Andrew A Serafina is cosponsoring a bill calling for extending the period of time that new drivers must have their learner’s permits and provisional licenses before they can receive an official driver’s license. The bill calls for increasing the age that a teen driver can get his or her provisional license to 16 years and 6 months and delaying when they can get their full driving privileges to age 18.

The legislation also includes a ban that would prevent drivers younger than 18 from driving around other minors for the first 9 months of having a license. At that point, the teen driver would only be allowed to have one minor in the car with him or her for the next nine months or until turning age 18.Current state law prevents minors with provisional licenses from having for the first 151 days any occupants in the vehicle who are under 18 that are not family members.

Following the enactment in 2005 of the latest passenger restrictions for teen drivers, there was a decrease in the number of passengers injured in teen driving accidents from over 1,000 annually (from 2003 – 2005) to less than 800 a year (from 2006 – 2007). The number of passengers killed in Maryland teen driving accidents went down from about 13 a year to approximately 8 annually.

Studies show that teen drivers are more likely to engage in aggressive driving or speeding when they are accompanied by other teenagers. Teens are also more likely to get easily distracted.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Says:

• Teen drivers make up the majority of teens that are killed in auto accidents.
• Many teenagers also have died as vehicle occupants.
• 39% of 16-19 year olds killed in Maryland traffic accidents from 1998 to 2007 were motor vehicle passengers.

• 76% of the 16-year-old vehicle occupants that died in Maryland motor vehicle accidents were teen drivers.

Measure would restrict new drivers in Md., March 28, 2009
Deciphering Details Might Necessitate a Map, The Washington Post, March 28, 2009
Related Web Resources:

Passenger and Nighttime Restrictions for Young Drivers, (PDF)

Senate Bill 265

House Bill 303

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