Bill doubling teens' supervised drive time sent to Illinois governor

| Thursday, April 13, 2006

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 written statement.

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.

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