Montana bill looks out for teen drivers

| Monday, April 07, 2003

The Montana Legislature is reviewing a proposal that would ease teen drivers onto the roadways by putting extra restrictions on them in their first year of driving, the Billings Gazette reported.

The state is one of four states without a graduated driver's license law; the others are Kansas, Wyoming and Oklahoma.

HB226, sponsored by Rep. Kim Gillan, D-Billings, would require a three-month learning-permit period for drivers younger than 18 before they can get their licenses. Current law allows a license to anyone age 16 or over, without the three-month learning period.

The proposal would prohibit teens from being behind the wheel between midnight and 5:30 a.m. unless accompanied by an adult. In addition, they cannot have more than two other underage passengers in their vehicles at once, unless the passengers are immediate family members.

The bill exempts teens driving because of a hardship or for farm and ranch work. It also eliminates the night driving restriction for students headed to or from work, school or religious activities.

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