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Proposed Law Would Allow Grandparents To Supervise Grandchildren's Driving

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FUQUAY-VARINA — Grandparents share their years of experience and wisdom with us and soon, they may also be able to share advice on how to drive.

State lawmakers passed a bill allowing them to supervise their grandchildren who have learner's permits.

A certified instructor currently takes aspiring drivers through their training. But if the governor signs a bill passed by the legislature, a grandparent could step in and be the supervising driver for a learner's permit holder.

Under current North Carolina law, a driver with a learner's permit can only be behind the wheel when a parent or legal guardian is in the front passenger seat.

The legislator who sponsored the bill, Russell Tucker, D-Duplin County, says the whole idea came from a constituent.

"(He) is a grandfather and had children who are single parents and he had a need to be a supervising driver. He also happened to be a retired state trooper," Tucker says.

Under his bill, Tucker says, grandparents would need parents' permission to supervise a driver-in-training. Some wonder if a senior citizen could intervene in an emergency. Representative Tucker says not to worry.

"If the DMV certifies the person as able to drive, then they should be able to supervise a driver," Tucker says.

Many grandparents welcome the chance to help young drivers.

"'Cause I love the young people. I love to see them live to get old and they won't if you put them in a car and they want to find out how fast it'll go," grandparent Mary Moring says.

Daniel Meyer, who is a student at Garner High, will get his learner's permit in August. "There's not going to be too many situations where it's going to be really necessary for them to grab the wheel and jerk you to the side of the road or anything like that," he says, "so (danger) hasn't really entered my mind."

What has entered Daniel's mind is more opportunities to drive.

"When Mom's not there we can probably call them and say let's go someplace, let's go get lunch. I like that."