Bill ties funding to state GDL programs

In an effort to decrease the number of teen driver fatalities, three senators recently introduced legislation that offers grant funding to states that enact comprehensive graduated driver's licensing laws and would penalize those that do not.

The Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act (S. 3269) was introduced April 28 by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chris Dodd (D-CT). A similar bill was introduced in 2009 in the House. One of the bill's provisions would penalize states that do not enact GDL laws by withholding a percentage of highway funding three and five years after the STANDUP Act goes into effect.

Among other GDL minimum requirements, the legislation calls on states to establish:

  • A three-stage licensing process, from learner's permit to intermediate state to full, nonrestricted driver's licensing
  • Prohibited nighttime driving during the learner's permit and intermediate stages
  • Passenger restrictions during the learner's permit and intermediate stages
  • Prohibited non-emergency use of cell phones and other communication devices, including text messaging during the learner's permit and intermediate stages
  • Learner's permits to be issued at age 16 and nonrestricted driver's licenses to be issued at age 18

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