Tougher teen license law to take effect

first_imgHere’s one more cause of teen angst. Starting Sunday, teenage drivers will face more restrictions on when they can drive and who can ride with them. Assembly Bill 1474, an extension of the Graduated Driver’s License law, requires teen drivers to have their license for one year before they can drive alone between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. or carry passengers under age 20 without an adult in the car. Even minors who got their license before Jan. 1 will have to follow the new rules if they have been driving for less than a year. The current law restricts minors for only six months and prohibits them from driving alone between midnight and 5 a.m. “It’s just one more elimination of a risky situation that a new driver shouldn’t have to deal with. When you start to drive as a new driver, there are so many things to learn, there are so many things to keep track of,” said Marie Montgomery, spokeswoman for the Automobile Club of Southern California. “The idea is to prevent further injuries and deaths.” In 1997, the year before the current driving law went into effect, 16-year-old drivers were involved in 5,433 fatal or injury collisions in California, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California. In 2003, 16-year-old drivers were involved in 4,782 fatal and injury collisions, a 12 percent decrease. Drivers already juggle cell phones, music, food and coffee in the car. Teenagers need fewer, not more distractions, said CHP spokesman Joe Zizi. She said the new restrictions give young drivers more time to learn to drive. “You give someone too much too fast, you can’t function. We don’t want these teens to go out there with 14 distractions and drive,” he said. But 16-year-old Devon Rennie of Hacienda Heights, who got her provisional license last week, sees the law as another limitation on her freedom. “For a person who just got her license, six months is (already) a long time to wait,” Rennie said. “You want your license especially if your friends don’t have licenses … Not being able to (drive them around) kind of sucks.” Her friend Matt Franco, 19, disagreed. High school drivers do crazy things when they’re behind the wheel, Franco said. When he was 17, Franco was in a car accident because he turned around to see his friends laughing in the back seat. Steven Bloch of the Auto Club said the Graduated Driver’s License law is enforced as a secondary violation; law enforcement officers must first stop a car for another possible infraction before someone can be cited for violating the teen driving law. Officers probably won’t start handing out citations until February, Zizi added. Most will first hand out warnings for a few weeks. City News Service contributed to this story. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2513 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img