A bill has died that sought to increase the age to get a
learner’s permit to drive in Florida from 15 to 16 years.
Sponsored by Rep. Irv Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, the bill
remained in the House Transportation Committee when the session ended,
effectively killing it for the year.
The measure – HB975 – also would have delayed by one year
the required age to qualify for a driver’s license. Teens now can qualify for
the privilege at 16.
Slosberg said his pursuit of the new driving rules stemmed
from a statistic that thousands of Florida 16-year-olds are killed or injured
annually in vehicle crashes. He said the extra year would reduce traffic deaths
because children need it for their brains to mature.
Nationwide, 16-year-old drivers have the highest crash risk.
It is double the rate of 18- to 19-year-old drivers, the South Florida
“It’s common sense and I think maybe it’s time,” Slosberg
told the newspaper.
Florida law already limits when a 16- or 17-year-old can be
behind the wheel.
Sixteen-year-olds cannot be on the road between 11 p.m. and
6 a.m., unless accompanied by someone 21 years or older or driving to work. And
17-year-olds are prohibited from driving between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.
Slosberg also wants to limit the number of teens who can
ride along with a teen driver.