The Illinois Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill that
would require teen drivers in the state to spend many more hours under
supervision before they could obtain their licenses.
Senators voted 55-1 to forward the bill to Gov. Rod
Blagojevich for his signature. It unanimously passed the House in February.
Sponsored by Rep. John D’Amico, D-Chicago, the measure –
HB4768 – would double the number of hours of behind-the-wheel training with
their parents to 50 hours. That would include 10 hours of nighttime driving.
Existing Illinois law only requires parents to sign off on
25 hours of practice time.
The changes are backed by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse
White and several safety groups.
“I believe this will help give young people more experience
behind the wheel, in a variety of situations, helping them to become better
drivers, and as a result, making the roads of Illinois safer,” White said in a
Similar supervision requirements are on the books in at
least 18 states.
D’Amico’s effort is a revised version of legislation
introduced in January that called for raising the minimum driving permit age to
17, which would have been the highest in the nation. The age to obtain an
unrestricted license would have increased to 18.
The earlier bill drew criticism from White’s office and
safety experts who said teens would benefit more with increased training.