House Bill 343 tightens the restrictions on young drivers

House Bill 343, tightening up restrictions on teenage drivers, passed both state houses in December and was signed into law by Governor Taft Jan. 4.

Supported by local officials and county safety organizations, the new state law has changed teenager driving privileges into what is known as a graduated driver’s licensing program.

The new law says that teenagers can now obtain a temporary learner’s permit at age 15 and a half years old. The learner’s permit must remain in the vehicle at all times and the driver must be accompanied by a licensed operator who is either a parent or a legal guardian (for ages 15 1/2 to 16). The total number of occupants cannot exceed the number of seat-belts in the vehicle, and driving times are restricted between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m.

From ages 16 to 17, teenagers can now receive what is known as a ‘probationary license.’ This second tier of the new law restricts driving between the hours of midnight to 6 a.m. and calls for no more than one non-family member to be a passenger.