While many people may not realize it, this week is National Teen Driver Safety Week. Created by a congressional resolution sponsored by over 50 federal lawmakers back in 2007, the week is designed to increase safety awareness among both teen drivers and their parents. Interestingly, one New York politician is using National Teen Driver Safety Week as a platform to promote a dramatic change to vehicle traffic laws.
Specifically, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is currently promoting the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act (STAND UP Act) which she introduced in March.
The legislation calls for the following changes on the federal level:
- Driver's licenses granting full driving privileges could only be issued by the states to those drivers 18 years of age or older (Here in New York, 17-year-olds can secure a full driver's license after completing a driver's ed. course)
- All states would be required to adopt a three-tier licensing program whereby the teen driver progresses from a learner's permit to a provisional license to a full license. Here, the intermediate driver's license could not be granted to those teens under the age of 16, while all teens must hold the learner's permit and the provisional license for at least six months prior to advancing to the next level.
- Both driving at night and the use of handheld electronic devices behind the wheel would be strictly prohibited until the teen driver is granted a full license.
"The STAND UP Act will provide young drivers the tools that they need to become safer and more intelligent drivers on our roads," said Sen. Gillibrand. "Having a national standard for safety for new young drivers will undoubtedly improve driving conditions for everyone and ultimately save lives."
Not surprisingly, the STAND UP Act has its fair share of both opponents and supporters.
Supporters - including Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the National Safety Council - view it as necessary to save teen lives, while opponents - including the National Youth Rights Association - view it as unduly restrictive and unfair.
The most current version of the STAND UP Act - a previous version failed to advance during the last congressional session - is currently awaiting a committee hearing.
How do you feel about Sen. Gillibrand's legislation? Do you think it's a good idea or altogether unnecessary?
If you have been issued a traffic violation, fight to keep your driving privileges and your insurance premiums as low as possible. Consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.
This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
Stay tuned for further developments from our New York vehicle traffic law blog ...
The Times-Union, "Gillibrand renews call for law raising driving age" Oct. 20, 2011