New law restricts young drivers

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 27, 2002

News Editor

A new law passed by the Alabama Legislature, which goes into effect on July 1, requires those under the age of 18 who apply for a regular driver’s license to have had a learner’s permit for at least six months prior to the application.

According to the law, a person who is issued a regular driver’s license after July 1 of this year who is age 17 and has been licensed for less than six months, or who is age 16, will be deemed to have a restricted driver’s license.

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In addition, drivers considered to have a restricted license cannot be out on the road between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Exceptions to this are if the driver has permission from a parent or legal guardian or is driving to or from a place of regular employment, a school sponsored event, an event sponsored by a religious organization or for the purpose of a medical, fire or law enforcement related emergency.

Restricted drivers will not be able to legally operate an automobile with four occupants in the vehicle, excluding their parents or legal guardians.

Violators of this law will not result in a suspension of their license, but the six months restricted period may be extended and the license holder will be subject to the restrictions before he or she is eligible to be designated as an unrestricted driver or until he or she is 18 years of age.

According to the new law, repeat or more serious offenses may result in suspension of the driver’s license for 60 days or the driver may be penalized further if the rules of the road provide for a more serious penalty. The six months restrictions period may also be extended from the date the person would be eligible to be designated as an unrestricted license holder.

Those exempt from the new law include anyone who is 16 years old and married or who is head of a household; anyone who has been legally relieved of status as a minor; anyone who is age 18 or over; and all those issued driver’s licenses prior to July 1, 2002.