The Kentucky House Transportation Committee has approved a
bill that would require teenagers to spend more time training before getting
full driving privileges.
Graduated driver’s license systems require teens to be
issued an intermediate license for a period of time, and sometimes require them
to drive under supervision and during only certain hours.
Kentucky has one of the highest teenage crash rates in the
nation. Teenage drivers account for only 6 percent of the overall driving
population in the state, but they are involved in about 18 percent of the
state’s fatal crashes and more than 20 percent of all highway crashes.
To help combat the problem, Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville,
wants a 180-day training period for 16-year-olds. During that time, they would
have to complete 60 hours of supervised driving, including 10 hours at night
accompanied by a licensed driver at least 21 years of age.
An intermediate license could be obtained after driving with
a permit for six months. Applicants cannot have any convictions on their
driving record. They must have a parent or legal guardian certify that they
have received a minimum of 60 hours of behind-the-wheel training.
Young drivers would be restricted from driving between
midnight and 6 a.m. The bill also would prohibit teen drivers from having more
than one passenger in the vehicle under age 20. Exceptions would apply if
driving to or from work or school or for an emergency.
If lawmakers approve the bill, Kentucky would be added to
the list of about 40 states that already have graduated driver’s license
systems that restrict young drivers.
A 2004 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
said that although most states’ graduated-licensing systems are too new for
formal evaluation, “impressive crash and injury reductions have been reported.”
HB90 now heads to the full House for further consideration.