Louisiana lawmakers reject limits on young drivers

| Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Louisiana House of Representatives has killed a bill that sought to put passenger limits on the state’s youngest drivers.

Existing state law prohibits new drivers possessing intermediate licenses from driving between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m., unless they are accompanied by a parent, guardian or other adult.

Sponsored by Rep. Dale Erdey, R-Livingston, the bill – HB786 – would have added a prohibition for drivers under age 17 from carrying more than one passenger under age 20 who is not a relative. The House voted 60-38 against the bill.

Violators would have faced $500 fines and up to six month in prison.

Erdey said he sought the limits to save lives. He cited a State Farm Insurance Co. survey of students throughout the nation that found the risk of fatal accidents increases five times when teenagers drive with two or more other teens, The Advocate in Baton Rouge, LA, reported.

Opponents had trouble with the exception made for family members, as well as possible jail time for offenders. Others said the bill did nothing to lower insurance rates.

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