Teen drivers in Colorado won’t be able to drive their
friends around – at least until they’ve got a little more experience behind the
wheel – if a pending bill passes in the state senate.
The measure, SB36, states that for the first six months they
have their licenses, teens would not be allowed to have passengers in the car
who are minors. Drivers who have had their license for six months to a year
would be allowed to carry one passenger younger than 21. All restrictions would
be removed after teens have been licensed for a year.
The bill does make exceptions for immediate family members.
However, an earlier amendment to the bill – which included exceptions if the
child had a parent’s written permission – was shot down in the House after
lawmakers said the law would be too difficult to enforce.
If the bill passes, the law will be considered a “secondary
offense,” meaning teens could not be cited unless they were pulled over for
During committee hearings for the bill, representatives from
AAA, the Colorado State Patrol and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department said
that inexperienced teen drivers are more likely to take bigger risks and get
distracted by their friends, which makes them more likely to end up in an
“If you want to talk about harsh, it’s being awakened at 2
a.m. by the State Patrol, telling you your son has been killed,” Farland
Bottoms of Highlands Ranch, CO, said during an interview with the Denver
Bottom’s 17-year-old son was killed in a car accident eight
The current wording of the bill would also ban teens from
driving overnight except in a medical emergency, but the committee delayed
action until an amendment could be made for teens that need to drive at night
for work or family reasons.