California lawmakers want to get tough on teen drivers

| 3/11/2005

Three bills in California would tighten up the rules for teen drivers in an effort to make the state’s roads safer.

The measures, all introduced in late February, are:

  • SB806, introduced by Sen. Jackie Speier, D-San Francsico, would prohibit drivers from transporting other teens for the first year after they receive their driver’s licenses.
  • AB1474, introduced by Assembly Member Bill Maze, R-Visalia, would change current law – which forces teen drivers off the road from midnight to 5 a.m. – and start the curfew an hour earlier, at 11 p.m.; and
  • AB963, introduced by Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, R-Cathedral City, would prevent teens age 16 to 18 from using cell phones while driving.

The restrictions are all aimed at helping teen drivers stay safe until they have more experience behind the wheel.

“We’ve assumed that a 16-year-old is as knowledgeable and experienced as a 35-or 40-year-old behind the wheel,” Garcia, sponsor of AB963, told The Sacramento Bee. “We’re learning that’s not the case.”

Speier told the newspaper she is preparing to add an amendment to her bill that would require teens to put a “distinguishing placard” in their cars’ back windows, apparently so everyone else on the road will know what they’re up against.

The bills are all current in various legislative committees awaiting action.