Delaware OKs tougher teen driving rules

| 7/20/2006

Delaware teens will have to wait a couple extra months to slide behind the steering wheel under a bill signed into law by Gov. Ruth Ann Minner.

Existing state law mandates that new drivers between the age of 15 years, 10 months and 18 years be supervised by a parent, guardian or licensed driver for their first six months behind the wheel. In the second six months, they can drive alone between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., but cannot have more than two passengers.

The new law, previously HB256, increases the minimum age to obtain a learner’s permit to 16 years.

The number of passengers for beginning drivers will be reduced from two to one. Drivers also will be required to post a sign on the vehicle so police officers will know they are subject to the passenger constraint.

Parents or guardians of teens with driving permits also are required to sign a log verifying their child has completed 50 hours of actual driving, including 10 hours at night, during the first six months of supervised driving.

The changes were sought in the wake of several fatal crashes involving teen drivers in the state. Between November 2004 and June 2005, 14 people died on Delaware roads in crashes involving teen drivers, the Delaware State News reported.