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Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Teen Driving Laws Enacted in New York State

On August 14, 2010 legislation for a new teen driving law went into effect. The new state law was passed to improve driver training and overall highway safety. The new law increases the minimum amount of supervised training required before a new driver can apply for a driver’s license. The law now requires that all driver license applicants under the age of 18 are required to submit proof of having completed the minimum of 50 hours supervised driving. Additionally, 15 of those hours must be nighttime driving. This law now applies to all drivers under 18 whether they have taken a drivers education course or not. Prior to the change, those who took drivers education courses were exempt from the minimum hours of driving requirement.

Additional supervised driver training is necessary because driver education courses usually provide teens with approximately 6 hours of driving time and most of the courses do not provide any nighttime driving. The DMV believed that the young drivers who benefit from driver education could also benefit from the 50 hours of supervised driving.

On September 1, 2010 another new law goes into effect. This law states that all drivers under 18 may not have any more than one non-family member under 21 as a passenger. Under legislation that went into effect February 22, 2010 this rule only applied to drivers who obtained their license on or after February 22. This change subjects all junior license and permit holders to the passenger restrictions regardless of when the license or permit was issued. By subjecting everyone to the restrictions it will help promote highway safety and help diminish the problems the different limitations caused for law enforcement personnel.

In recent years, New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles and the Governor’s Traffic and Safety Committee have been on the forefront of developing new ways to educate teenage drivers. The DMV Commissioner created the Office of the Young Driver in 2008 to address the issues facing new drivers. In May 2010, New York State launched another important initiative to help address young drivers' issues. The Driver Education Research and Innovation Center (DERIC) is managed by Health Research Inc. The goal of DERIC is to develop, text, and execute a dynamic Driver Education program that will dramatically reduce the number of crashes involving young drivers.

Young drivers represent 12% of all drivers and somehow, are accountable for 20% of drivers involved in crashes. Sixteen and 17-year-olds are three times more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers of any other age. In an effort to lower statistics like those, New York Teen Driving Laws are always changing and their driver education programs are evolving.

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