Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communication Office
Graduated Driver's License Bill on its Way to be Signed Into Law
House Concurrence on Senate Amendments Sends GDL to Governor’s Desk
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky’s Graduated Driver’s License Bill swerved past its last legislative obstacle this afternoon and is now on the fast track to the Governor’s Desk to be signed into law. The goal of House Bill 90 is to curb the overall number of crashes involving teenage drivers, especially the high number of deadly crashes with teen involvement.
House Bill 90 creates an intermediate period of six months between the learner’s permit and a full, unrestricted license. During the intermediary phase, teenagers will have a full license with two restrictions on their driving privileges. One of the restrictions stipulates no driving from midnight to 6 a.m., except in cases of emergency. Also, the teen driver will be allowed no more than one unrelated passenger under the age of twenty.
“This administration is focused on improving highway safety,” said Governor Fletcher. “This bill provides a way to ease young drivers onto the roadways by controlling their exposure to progressively more difficult driving situations. It should produce a safer group of teen drivers, which will mean safer highways for all of us.”
Kentucky currently has one of the highest teen crash rates in the nation. Teenage drivers account for only 6 percent of the state’s driving population, yet they are involved in about 18 percent of fatal crashes in Kentucky and more than 20 percent of all highway crashes in the state.
Representative Tom Burch (D-Louisville) sponsored the bill and has made impassioned pleas for its passage at every stop in the legislative process. “I’ve lost a teenage grand daughter in an auto accident, and I can assure you that one never really gets over a loss like that.” Rep. Burch said. “I wouldn’t want anyone to go through an experience like that,” Burch added.
A strong supporter of the bill, Senator Julie Denton (R-Louisville), offered a parent’s perspective on today’s GDL legislation. “As a mother of teenage boys, I have heard many heartbreaking stories about inexperienced teen drivers. Hopefully, this bill will help reassure anxious parents and enhance safety for our children.”
“We can all remember when we were 16-year-olds,” said Senator David Boswell (D-Owensboro). “At that age you’re young and aggressive, and you think you’re going to live forever. As much as anything, this bill protects our teens from themselves. I think it’s a very good measure, and that’s why it received my wholehearted endorsement,” Boswell continued.
Senator Brett Guthrie (R-Bowling Green), who is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, stated “This is a measure which will definitely enhance safety for our young people and should help us to reduce the fatality rate on Kentucky’s roadways.”
Transportation Cabinet Secretary Bill Nighbert, underlined the success other states have had with a Graduated Driver’s License Program. “North Carolina and Michigan, for example, have done studies that show as much as a 25 percent reduction in crashes involving 16-year-old drivers, after passing GDL legislation,” said Secretary Nighbert. “These are the kind of positive results we’re striving for in Kentucky.”
Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia already have a Graduated Driver’s License Program.