Teen + Parent +60 Hours=NC Driver's License
Getting a driver's license in North Carolina just got a lot harder for young drivers and their parents. A new law this year requires teens to spend a lot of time behind the wheel with an adult in the car. With a learner's permit kids in the state can begin driving at fifteen, but they need a parent or another adult to supervise them. "Under the old law there was no requirement that a teen actually drive while they had their limited learner's permit," says David Rouzer, the state senator who sponsored the bill. The new law changes that. It requires teens under the age of 18 to drive 60 hours with a parent. Ten of those must be at night. Only then can they get a restricted license that lets them drive without an adult at certain hours. Rouzer hopes the change will cut down on the number of teens involved in crashes. "This is just an epidemic in Johnston County, in particular. But not just in Johnston County, but all across the state," says Rouzer. In 2010, young drivers in North Carolina were involved in 42,886 crashes. Those included 102 teen fatalities. Nearly all states require teens to drive a certain number of hours with a parent in the car. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, North Carolina now requires teens to log among the highest number of hours. Jenny Cheek with Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety likes the change. "The new requirements will help ensure that novice teen drivers, who are the most dangerous drivers and at the riskiest period in their driving lives, are gaining much-needed behind the wheel experience during that supervised learning permit phase," says Cheek.