Local News

Graduated Driver's Licenses Not An Easy Road for Some Teens

Posted January 19, 1999

— Lack of experience can be deadly behind the wheel. Last year, more teens died in car accidents than any other way -- three times more.

So North Carolina passed a new law to try and turn those numbers around.

Teenagers have to prove they are safe drivers before they get behind the wheel of a car. It is the law.

Graduated licensing went into effect more than a year ago. Now a study has been done to see if the law has helped cut down on crashes involving teens.

Even if you cannot remember anything else from high school, you probably remember driver's ed. Most students would give their right arm for a driver's license.

"Because I don't have to stay home for one thing all the time. Because now, like I stay home, nothing to do, bored," said student Larry King.

Our state, along with 23 other states, has passed a graduated license law. It makes it harder for young students to get and keep a license.

It also requires them to keep up their grades if they want to drive.

It has been in place for a full semester, so the first grades are in. Any day now, a handful of students will find out that their license is about to be revoked.

"We have a few students who did not meet the eligibility requirements for maintaining adequate academic progress, which at Hunt, is passing three out of four subjects on the block schedule. So, we're in the process now of notifying the students that are involved," said Bill Williamson, Hunt High School principal.

Once those first slips go out, teachers expect teenagers to take the law a lot more seriously. Students have mixed reactions to the plan.

Some say it is more trouble than it is worth. Others say that cherished license is the perfect way to reward students who are willing to work for it.

"Kids like to come to school and mess around and not do as well as they're supposed to do and everything. And yet, they get their license to have fun and do no work to earn the license," said King.

Under the graduated license law, teens go through more steps to get their licenses.

Learner's permits are mandatory. Teenagers have to drive for a full year under supervision.

For the first six months, 16-year-old drivers are not allowed to drive after 9 p.m. unless the trip is work-related.


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