New Illinois law doubles teens' supervised drive time

| 6/30/2006

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed a bill into law June 22 that requires teen drivers in the state to spend many more hours under supervision before they can obtain their licenses. The new law is already in effect.

The new law, previously HB4768, doubles the amount of time children must spend in behind-the-wheel training with their parents to 50 hours. It includes 10 hours of nighttime driving.

Parents will be obligated to sign a form stating they have spent the required time with their teens. The adults also will have to sign a separate consent form saying the teen is ready for a license.

The new law is 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.

Sponsored by Rep. John D’Amico, D-Chicago, the 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 been increased to 18.

The earlier bill drew criticism from White’s office and safety experts who said teens would benefit more from increased training.