Several states look to tighten their teen driving laws in order to create a safer driving environment. Arkansas, Kansas and Pennsylvania are all looking to pass laws that would make their graduated driver’s licensing laws stronger. Alabama and Minnesota recently passed laws placing further restrictions on teen drivers.
If passed in Arkansas, Senate Bill 78 would stiffen the state’s seat belt laws by making it a primary offense if you are not buckled up. Right now, as a secondary offense, you must be breaking another law before you get pulled over for not wearing your seat belt. SB 309 is looking to implement GDLs in Arkansas.
In Kansas, House Bill 2143 was passed by the House and is waiting for the Senate to push it through for the Governor’s signature. The bill creates a three-tiered GDL system which places six months of restriction on teens who have recently received their license (ex: no driving between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.; no more than 1 non-sibling, minor passenger; NO cell phone use while driving at all during those six months).
In Pennsylvania, HB 67 would ban drivers under the age of 18 from using their cell phones at all. No talking and no text messaging. The bill would also increase the hours of required practical driving experience from 50 hours to 65 hours (ten of these hours would be nighttime driving and five would be in inclement weather).
Alabama has banned the writing, reading and sending of text messages while driving for all drivers. This is especially important for teen drivers who have less experience and tend to text more.
Minnesota just passed a law that updates their GDL law. Updates include no driving between midnight and 5 a.m. and there can only be one passenger in the car that is under 20 years old.
So what does this mean for Texas teenagers? The legislature is in session this year and there may be some tightening of laws that will affect teen driving. Check t-driver.com in the next few weeks for updates on Texas laws.