Andrew J Lanza

July 23, 2009

State Senator Andrew Lanza announces that the state Senate recently passed legislation he supports to strengthen teen driving training requirements and prevent teenage driving deaths.


“Teen drivers are more likely to be involved in car crashes because of their inexperience behind the wheel. Like any skill, driving requires training and practice in order to learn. Better preparing teenagers to handle the challenges and responsibilities of driving a car will help save lives and prevent crashes on our roadways,” said Senator Lanza.


The legislation would improve teen driver safety by:


* Requiring 50 hours of supervised driving instruction before teens could take their road tests. At least 15 of those hours would have to be after sunset, so that teens can learn how to drive at night. Current law only requires 20 hours of supervised driving with no requirements for night driver training.


* Requiring all teen drivers to hold a learner’s permit for at least six months before they can be issued a junior license. Limited junior driver licenses, which are currently available to teens who have passed a road test but have had their permit for less than six months, would also be eliminated.


* Junior drivers could only have only one, non-family passenger under the age of 21 in the car if no adult is present. Current law allows 2 such passengers.


The bill has also been passed by the State Assembly. Governor Paterson is expected to sign the measure into law.           


Statistics show that teen drivers are particularly vulnerable to fatal car crashes. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that junior drivers are twice as likely as adult drivers to be involved in a fatal crash. A recent Newsday story stated that in New York State, 236 teens died in traffic accidents and another 236 individuals were killed by cars driven by teens in 2007 alone.

Senator Lanza also sponsors a
comprehensive package of legislation, SAFE-TEEN New York , designed to keep New York’s younger, less experienced drivers safe while on the road and prevent future tragic accidents.

The package would:

> Require parents or legal guardians to attend court appearances when teen drivers are issued traffic violations;

> Authorize DMV to produce a SAFE-TEEN NY sticker and make the sticker available to all parents and legal guardians. These optional stickers, which could be placed on certain vehicles, would help alert law enforcement and other drivers to the fact that a car is being driven by a young, and potentially inexperienced, driver; and

> Establish the SAFE-TEEN New York Driver Safety Commission, a 12-member panel of experts who would examine a wide array of factors that contribute to the high rate of car accidents involving teen drivers and make recommendations for new programs, policies, and statutes to improve teen driver safety.

> Establish Michelle and Jordan’s Law which mandates harsher punishments for street racing