AAA corrects driving bill for permit holders

Posted at 2:57 PM, Mar 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-10 14:57:30-05

Virginia Beach, Va. – AAA is working with Senator John A. Cosgrove Jr. ( R) of Chesapeake to prohibit all learners permit holders from using cell phones or any form of wireless communication while behind the wheel.wdbj7-aaa-gasoline-prices-down-across-virginia-20120521

Since 2007, Virginia law states that teen drivers are not allowed to use any electronic devices while driving, but the law was modified because of the lack of clarity. It wasn’t clear who could and could not use cell phones when driving and owning a learner’s permit.

This year, AAA and Senator Cosgrove made efforts in straightening out the confusion by prohibiting all learner’s permit holders from using electronics and wireless communication devices no matter the age. The changes are expected to help lower the number of injuries and deaths associated with new and at risk drivers.

The bill, which passed unanimously in both the House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate, will be presented to Governor Terry McAuliffe.

Changes include:

  • Prohibits the holder of a learner’s permit, regardless of age, from using a cellular telephone or any other wireless telecommunications device. This is the same restriction placed on the holder of a provisional license.
  • Limits the holder of a learner’s permit to one unrelated passenger under 21. Current law limits the learner’s permit holder to one unrelated passenger under 18.
  • Limits a provisional license holder under the age of 18 to one unrelated passenger under 21 in the car. Current law allows an unlimited number of unrelated passengers under 21 to be in a car with a driver under 18, as long as a parent is in the passenger’s seat.

AAA made way with the changes by working with the Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Education, Virginia State Police representatives and law makers over the summer.

“Car crashes are the leading cause in deaths for drivers between the ages of 16 to 19 in the United States. It is our hope that these changes will help save lives,” said Georjeane Bluming, Vice President of Public Affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia.

AAA provided the following statistics support the need to address teen driver safety:

  • Most common distractions leading in teen driver crashes:
    • 15 % interacting with one or more passengers
    • 12% using a cellphone
    • 10% looking at something in the vehicle
  • Compared to driving with no passengers, a 16 or 17-year-old driver’s fatality risk:
    • Increases by 42 percent when carrying one passenger  younger than 21 ( and no older passengers)
    • Doubles when carrying two passengers younger than 21( and no older passengers)
    • Quadruples when carrying three or more passengers younger than 21 ( and no older passengers)

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