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Calif. Considers Extending Provisional Driver's License Program For Those Under 21 Years Old

nate steiner / Flickr

nate steiner / Flickr

California lawmakers are debating expanded safety requirements for young drivers. The state’s provisional driver’s license program now applies to people under 18. The proposal would extend it to new drivers under 21.

Gov. Jerry Brown rejected another bill that sought to limit young drivers in 2013, calling it too restrictive.

Right now, 16 and 17-year-old drivers have to take classes, and can’t drive late at night, or with other teens in the car. But those rules don’t apply once you’re 18 – so many wait to get a license. Brown worries extending rules up through age 20 could just mean more novices swerve in at 21.

“I don’t think it really has anything to do with the age, I think it’s the person. Age has nothing to do with it,” Brown said.  

Kelly Browning heads Impact Teen Drivers in Sacramento.

“It isn’t the 45-year-old novice driver that’s at greatest risk,” Browning said,  “It’s the 18-to-20-year-old driver that’s at greatest risk of these serious injuries and fatalities on our roadways.”

She argues the measure will save lives, because parts of the brain essential to safe driving aren’t fully developed until the mid-twenties.

The bill includes exemptions for such cases, by requiring new 18 to 20 year old drivers to present a copy of their class or work schedule. The bill passed on party lines in the Assembly, and is now being debated in the Senate.

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