Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has signed a bill into law
increasing driver training time for young drivers in the state.
The push to strengthen the laws for teen drivers came on the
heels of a wave of automobile wrecks that killed young drivers throughout the
state, the Boston Herald reported.
Three out of 10 16-year-old drivers in the state reportedly get into serious
The bill - H5378 - moved to the governor's desk after the
House and Senate agreed on a compromise version of the legislation that removes
some controversial provisions, such as a ban on cell phones and an older
In an effort to protect children, the new law doubles to 12
hours the length of time students must spend behind the wheel with an
instructor. It also increases the number of supervised hours new drivers must
spend with parents or other experienced drivers from 12 hours to 40 hours.
Parents or guardians of teens with driving permits are
required to sign a log verifying their child has completed 40 hours of actual
driving, up from the current 15, the Herald
reported. Parents or guardians will be required to receive two hours of
instruction on the state's driver education curriculum.
New drivers caught speeding will lose their license for 90
days. Repeat offenders would face a one-year driving suspension. Existing
Massachusetts law doesn't mandate a loss of driving privileges on the first
offense. However, repeat offenders lose their junior licenses for 180 days.
The new law also includes deterrents on drag racing.
Those with learner's permits or junior operating licenses
caught drag racing will have their driving privileges suspended for a year and
pay up to $750 in fines and fees. Repeat offenders will face a three-year
suspension and double the fines.
The new penalties take effect March 31. The new training
requirement begins Sept. 1.