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First Time Drivers To Face New Restrictions

Teen driver

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBS 2) – A new law enacted in New York means first-time drivers will face new restrictions when applying for driver’s license, as the state hopes to reduce the number of motor vehicles accidents and subsequent injuries and fatalities in the state. The legislation came as a suggestion from the Department of Motor Vehicles and was signed into law by Gov. Paterson Tuesday.

It means that driver’s license applicants who are under the age of 18 will have to submit proof of having completed at least 50 hours of supervised driving in addition to an approved driver education course. Before the new law, new applicants who completed a driver’s education course were exempt from completing the hours.

Additionally, the new law requires 15 of the 50 hours on the road to be completed after sunset, a change put in place as driver’s education courses normally only provide six hours of driving practice, and typically does include nighttime driving.

“Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for teens and the crash fatality rate is highest for 16 to 17-year-olds within the first six months of getting their license,” said DMV Commissioner David Swarts. “This amendment closes a loop-hole in the current law and addresses a main cause of teen driver crashes, which is inexperience.”

The new law also requires that drivers under the age of 18 may not have more than one non-family member under 21 as a passenger in their vehicle.