Concerned about inadequate driver’s education
two state lawmakers say they want hearings early next year to gather
information to reform training programs for young drivers.
Sen. Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch, told The
Bee the current system of driver education and behind-the-wheel
training “is not making the kind of dent in accident statistics we would like
State and national figures show that first-year
teen drivers are involved in accidents at a rate four times greater than
drivers in any other age group, the newspaper reported.
Torlakson and Assemblywoman Carol Liu, D-La
Canada Flintridge, want to study why so many teens fail their driver’s license
tests, as well as whether teens need more hours of driving practice and fewer
hours in the classroom.
In the meantime,
lawmakers have sent a bill to
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that would tighten up a teen driving rule intended
to make the state’s roads safer.
Sponsored by Assemblyman Bill Maze,
R-Visalia, the bill would change current law – which forces 16- and 17-year-old
motorists off the road from midnight to 5 a.m. – and start the curfew an hour
earlier at 11 p.m. An exception would be made for young drivers accompanied by
a licensed driver who was at least 25.
AB1474 also would bar teens of that age from
transporting passengers under age 20 during the first year licensed, unless
accompanied by a licensed driver who was at least 25. Under existing law, that
restriction lasts for the first six months licensed.
Two other measures related to young drivers,
however, failed to gain passage.
SB806, sponsored by Sen. Jackie Speier, D-San
Francisco, sought to prohibit drivers from transporting other teens for the
first year after they receive their driver’s licenses. Currently, young drivers
cannot have other teens in their vehicle for the first six months licensed.
AB963, sponsored by Assemblywoman Bonnie
, would have
prevented teens age 16 to 18 from using cell phones while driving.
The bills can’t be reconsidered until the
Legislature reconvenes in January.