Senate approves increased training for teen drivers

SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Senate has approved legislation backed by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, State Rep. John D’Amico (D-15) and State Sen. John Cullerton (D-6) to strengthen the Illinois Graduated Drivers license program, including increasing the amount of practice time young drivers will need before being able to obtain an Illinois driver’s license.

“I want to thank Rep. D’Amico, Sen. Cullerton and the members of the General Assembly for approving a measure that will make our roads safer,” said White. “I believe this proposal will help give young people more experience behind the wheel, in a variety of situations, helping them to become better drivers.”

House Bill 4768 would require parents to spend 50 hours with their child in the car, including 10 hours of night driving, before the young person would be eligible for an Illinois driver’s license. In addition, parents would have to sign a form before the student would go to get the license.

Illinois law currently requires parents to spend 25 hours with the student driver behind the wheel and sign a consent form before the student receives a driving permit.

The legislation is supported by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Illinois Traffic Safety Leaders, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists, and the Illinois High School and College Driver Education Association.

“NHTSA joins Secretary White, Rep. D’Amico and Sen. Cullerton in supporting this legislation that will strengthen the current GDL law by adding additional hours behind the wheel, including nighttime driving hours,” said Mike Witter, NHTSA deputy regional administrator.

Under the proposal, Illinois would join 18 other states that require at least 50 hours with a parent in the car, including California, Florida, Michigan and Ohio. The legislation now awaits the governor’s approval to become law.

From the April 19-25, 2006, issue

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