Intended to make travel safer for everyone, Louisiana’s youngest drivers will soon have new rules to follow to get their licenses.
A new law tweaks the state’s existing graduated driver licensing law. As of Jan. 1, first-time drivers will be required to practice for at least 50 hours behind the wheel before getting an unrestricted driver’s license. At least 15 of those practice hours must be at night with a licensed adult who is 21 years or older.
Louisiana law has required 35 hours of driver training but none at night.
Learner’s permits are still allowed for 15-year-olds. A full license can continue to be obtained at 17.
The 50-hour rule must be met through training with a parent, guardian or a driving school.
Learner’s permits can be upgraded to intermediate licenses when applicants turn 16. They must also pass an on-road driving test and must have met the 50-hour rule.
The new law also prohibits anyone with an intermediate license from driving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless accompanied by a licensed adult or other family member. Unless accompanied by a licensed adult, affected drivers would also be prohibited from transporting more than one non-family member younger than 21 from the hours of 6 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Unrestricted licenses can be obtained after all of the requirements have been met, including no convictions involving drugs or alcohol for 12 months after being issued the intermediate license.
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– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor
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