AAA Michigan Salutes Legislators For Passing Teen Passenger Restrictions

Dec 03, 2010, 09:31 ET from AAA Michigan

DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 3, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- AAA Michigan saluted members of the Michigan Senate for their vote late yesterday (December 2) on a teen driver passenger restriction bill which prohibits 16-year-old new drivers from having more than one passenger under 21 years of age in the vehicle – with some exceptions.

The Senate passed House Bill 4493 by a vote of 30 to 5 on the last day of the current legislative session.

While the bill initially allowed for teens to have multiple passengers when going to and from work, it was broadened to allow new teens to have multiple passengers when going to and from school and school-related activities.  One key element -- which would prohibit cell phone use by 16-year-old drivers behind the wheel – was taken out of the bill.

House Bill 4493 decreases the hours a 16-year-old can drive.  Currently, 16-year-olds cannot drive between midnight and 5 a.m.  The new bill allows for driving only between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. – meaning the driver must be off the road by 10 p.m.

AAA Michigan supported the bill, but had hoped it would include a cell-phone ban for new drivers as well as limiting passengers for teen drivers without exception, including school and related school functions.  Michigan is one of just eight states with no passenger restrictions for young drivers.

The bill is expected to be signed by Governor Jennifer Granholm and will take effect in 90 days.

Many studies have shown that limiting the number of teen passengers allowed in a vehicle driven by a teen or novice driver helps make them safer.  According to a March 2008 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) , when teenage drivers transport passengers there is a greatly increased crash risk, with greater risk association with more passengers.  With multiple passengers, the crash risk is three to five times greater.

For more information on how to help keep teens safer drivers, visit  AAA's new website provides extensive information and useful tools for both parents and teens and a downloadable parent-teen driving agreement.