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Teens adjust to new driving laws

Fifteen- and 16-year-olds in Selma still don’t like the new driving law that went into effect Tuesday.

As a matter of fact, they say that although there are new restrictions, some people they know will probably not abide.

Alabama’s new graduated driver’s license for teens, passed last Spring, went into full swing Oct. 1, which restricts new drivers from riding after midnight and having a full load of friends in the car.

Kayla Molette, a 17-year-old senior the city’s only high school, is unaffected, but still acknowledges that many of her friends who are younger oppose it.

Instead of packing the car to capacity, Kayla says, &uot;They’ll just have to trail each other.&uot;

Teens who already had their licenses before Tuesday are unaffected. But for those who didn’t are.

Now, any 16-year-old applying for a license will have to have a parent or guardian verify that he or she has completed 30 hours of behind-the-wheel practice or present proof that a driver’s education course has been completed.

A newly licensed 16-year-old can’t drive with more than four passengers – including themselves and not counting a parent or legal guardian of licensee – and cannot drive between midnight and 6 a.m., with the

exception of going to or from work, school, a religious event or an emergency.

When the driver turns 17 and has possessed a license for at least six months, he or she can get a regular license. But a driving violation extends the six month waiting period for a full license by another six months.

Statistics show a different reason.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety, 16-year-olds have crash rates five times higher than 18-year-olds. In adopting the new law, Alabama joined more than 40 other states that are trying to reduce traffic accidents, deeming the restriction as the possible key.

By doing this, Morgan said, &uot;they will be able to watch their driving until they can keep up with the number of accidents and tickets and see who needs more training.&uot;