Michigan law puts restrictions on young drivers

| Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A new law in Michigan is intended to make roadways safer by putting limits on novice drivers. It takes effect in March 2011.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed into law a bill to tweak the state’s 14-year-old graduated driver licensing law. The law affecting drivers age 17 and younger has three stages, which include a learner’s permit, intermediate license and regular license.

Previously HB4493, the changes affect drivers with intermediate licenses. Those drivers typically are in the first year of driving independently.

Rep. Richard LeBlanc, D-Westland, said the changes are aimed at minimizing distractions by tightening regulations.

“Young drivers and others utilizing our roadways will benefit from this new law,” LeBlanc said in a statement.

Affected drivers have been required to be off the roads between midnight and 5 a.m., unless accompanied by an adult, traveling back and forth to work or between home and school. The new rule moves up by two hours to 10 p.m. the time that they must park their vehicles.

Also, drivers with intermediate licenses are forbidden to have more than one non-family member under the age of 21 in the vehicle for the first six months, unless accompanied by an adult or traveling back and forth between home and school.

The National Transportation Safety Board recently identified passenger limits for teen drivers as one of the rules that states need to adopt to help eliminate distractions for young drivers. Until now, Michigan was one of eight states without a GDL passenger limit.

According to figures provided by LeBlanc’s office, the risk of death increases 158 percent with two passengers and 207 percent with three or more passengers.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Michigan, click here.

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