Law change for teen drivers
Changes in the law• All 15 year olds must complete 30 hours of approved driver’s education course within six months of applying for permit• All 16-year-olds must have six hours of behind-the-wheel training from an approved driving school if they live within 30 miles of one that offers at least 20 hours a week of behind-the-wheel training from a permanent locationSUMMIT COUNTY – Understanding the law in order to get your teen behind the wheel may be more difficult than trying to appear relaxed the first time they pull into traffic.While a new law recently signed by Gov. Bill Ritter comes with some changes, the good news is, it likely will not have the impact in Summit County that some worried it would. One change is that all 15-year-olds must complete 30 hours of an approved classroom driver’s education course within six months of applying for a permit. Previously, they just had to be enrolled and taking the class. Also, now they can begin the class at age 14 years 6 months, as opposed to having to be 15.Another change is that 16-year-olds must have six hours of behind-the-wheel training from an approved driving school if they live within 30 miles of one that offers at least 20 hours a week of behind-the-wheel training from a permanent location. That is the rule that could have caused problems for Summit County teens since only one driving school exists in the county.However, Daystar Driving does not offer 20 hours of behind-the-wheel training a week, said its owner Matt Eilers who added that he could not handle the volume the law would have created otherwise. And at the Department of Motor Vehicles, the law is interpreted exactly as it is written, said Deborah Jerome, with the DMV’s driver’s license administration department in Lakewood.So, instead of having to go to a driving school for the six hours, teens must have 12 hours of behind-the-wheel training from their parent, guardian or alternate permit supervisor. This is in addition to the 50 hours of training parents agree to log now.The rules went into effect Monday and currently DMV’s are trying to figure out how to explain the changes to customers who are being affected.”The rough part is that you can’t put anything out ahead of time,” Jerome said. “Right now there’s a lot of disgruntled customers.”
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