TOPEKA, Kan. - Effective Friday, August 1, the State of Minnesota will join 46 other states with a three-stage, graduated system of licensing (GDL) for teen drivers, leaving Kansas one of only three states remaining without one, according to Jim Hanni of AAA Kansas, in a speech to the Topeka Lions Club Monday.
Hanni says Kansas needs to get on board with such a plan to reduce motor vehicle crashes involving young drivers.
Hanni says a graduated license program has almost passed the past two legislative sessions. He expects to see it discussed next session.
"I think legislators who are not sure about it, some who may be opposed to it, are simply just trying to - in their own way- maybe protect the freedoms of people in their own decisions," Hanni said. "It really is an issue of public safety and one that the legislature needs to address. It's not that complicated."
The seven components of a GDL program include:
-A minimum of at least 16 years to receive a learner's permit
-A requirement to hold the permit at least six months before receiving a license that allows unsupervised driving
-A requirement for certification of at least 30 hours of supervised driving practice during the learner stage
-An intermediate stage of licensing with a minimum entry age of at least 16 and a half
-A nighttime driving restriction for intermediate license holders, allowing no more than one passenger (except family members)
-A minimum age of 17 years for full, unrestricted licensure
Along with Kansas, North Dakota, Arkansas and Minnesota have all lacked an intermediate stage of licensing, until Friday when Minnesota's new system becomes law.