Article Comment 

New rules of road for teen drivers

 

 

JACKSON -- The Mississippi House voted Tuesday to extend to one year the amount of time teenagers seeking their driver''s license must learn how to operate a car with adult supervision. 

 


Under current law, teens can get a driver''s license after turning 15 and having a learner''s permit for six months. However, state lawmakers want to increase that to one year. 

 


"The underlying message of this bill is to save lives. Research shows that allowing at least six more months of supervised driving will help them learn better habits," said Rep. Shaun Walley, D-Leakesville, the House''s chief sponsor of the legislation. 

 


The bill -- which goes to the Senate for consideration -- would also ban newly licensed teenage drivers from using cell phones or other wireless communication devices to send text messages while at the wheel. 

 


The House voted 83-37 for Senate Bill 2280. Most of the opposition came from Republicans against government''s heavy hand in dictating rules of the road. 

 


While the bill doesn''t change the law allowing 15-year-olds to get a learner''s driving permit, it does increase the minimum age for an intermediate license to 16 and for a full-fledged license to 16. 

 


Under current law, an intermediate license allows unsupervised driving for new motorists from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The bill extends that time on Fridays and Saturdays to 11:30 p.m. 

 


In addition to making teen drivers carry a learner''s permit for six more months, the legislation would require them to remain in school to get their driver''s license. 

 


"Not only will this piece of legislation provide some safety measures for teen drivers but also encourage them to stay in school," House Transportation Committee Chairman Warner McBride, D-Courtland, said in a statement issued by the House Democratic Caucus. 

 


He noted this is the first time the House has agreed with the Senate in recent years to increase the age for young drivers getting their license. 

 


Most of the House''s debate about the bill Tuesday focused on the text-messaging ban for new drivers. 

 


The prohibition would apply only to drivers with learner''s permits, which require another fully licensed driver to be in the vehicle for supervision, and those with intermediate licenses, which restrict the hours for unsupervised driving. 

 


A new driver caught text-messaging could be fined up to $500. The penalty could be $1,000 if the youth has an accident while texting. 

 


The House voted 64-54 against an effort to delete the ban from the bill. It also voted 65-52 against a proposal to forbid all drivers from using cell phones and other text-messaging devices. 

 


The bill returns to the Senate, which earlier passed a different version and will decide whether to accept the House changes or work out a joint compromise. 

 


 

 


Roll Call 

 


Senate Bill 2280 to add six months to the minimum age for teenagers to get their driver''s licenses and to ban newly licensed teenage drivers from sending text messages from behind the wheel: 

 


     

     


  • Esther Harrison, D-Columbus: For 

     


  • Jeff Smith, D-Columbus: Against 

     


  • Tyrone Ellis, D-Starkville: For 

     


  • David Gibbs, D-West Point: Against 

     


  • Reecy Dickson, D-Macon: Against 

     


  • Jimmy Puckett, D-Amory: For 

     


  • Donnie Bell, D-Fulton: For 

     


  • Russ Nowell, D-Louisville: For 

     


  • Gary Chism, R-Columbus: Against 

     


  • Jim Beckett, R-Bruce: Against 

     


  • Dannie Reed, R-Ackerman: For 

     


 

 


Rep. Jeff Smith said his vote was mistakenly cast against the bill. He will request the record show he voted for it. 

 


To read bills, follow their progress and see how legislators voted, go to the Mississippi Legislature''s Web site: billstatus.ls.state.ms.us. The Web site also has live videocasts of House and Senate floor sessions.

 

 

 

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Reader Comments

Article Comment Cory commented at 6/1/2009 10:17:00 PM:

I think this is stupid but I got my permit in January before the law was made so do I also have to wait to get my intermediate or can I still get it in July

 

Article Comment Anna commented at 6/17/2009 3:47:00 PM:

When does the law go into affect? I get my learner's permit on July 6. Do I have to wait 6 months or a year?

 

Article Comment Driving commented at 8/23/2009 4:29:00 AM:

I think this law is more helpful for teenagers. When i was made my licence then i am just 19 years old, and take classes of driving after 3 months. I think this is a best time for learn driving from any driving school.
But today's generation not understand it they going for driving but they are innocent. Government make these type of laws, and i think these are good for teens.

Driving Permit

 

Article Comment Driving commented at 8/23/2009 4:30:00 AM:

I think this law is more helpful for teenagers. When i was made my licence then i am just 19 years old, and take classes of driving after 3 months. I think this is a best time for learn driving from any driving school.
But today's generation not understand it they going for driving but they are innocent. Government make these type of laws, and i think these are good for teens.

Driving Permit

 

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