Bill could change driving age

In response to the high number of auto deaths involving Central Valley teens and the overall disproportionate number of accidents by the youngest of drivers, Assemblyman Bill Maze has introduced legislation to raise the California Drivers License age to 17.

Proponents say Assembly Bill 1877 will not only protect 16-year-old teenagers -- who currently are involved in accidents at three times the rate of the average driver -- but families and communities as a whole. The current provisions placed on 16-year-old driver, which place limits on driving with passengers under the age of 25 will be kept in place. The restrictions would now be applied to 17-year-old drivers.

Under Maze's proposal, teen drivers would have a year and a half to learn safe and proper driving under the guidance of an adult with the use of a drivers permit. Though the current provisional license restrictions have helped in reducing the number and rate of accidents among young drivers, Bill supporters say they did not go far enough. Lack of experience is often cited as a primary culprit in teen accidents. The age of the driver often comes into play as well. These two issues are at the crux of the problem and AB 1877 addresses both.

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