The Legislature recently approved a plan to update our drivers licensing system. The Graduated Drivers Licensing bill makes a few simple, but effective, changes to our current law and brings Kansas up to speed with the 48 other states that have already passed similar measures for teen drivers, according to a news release from Jim Hanni, executive vice president of AAA Kansas.

Recent reports contained misinformation about what the GDL bill does, the AAA news release stated. This bill does not does not change the age at which teens may obtain a license, it does not make any changes to the farm permit, and it does not make any changes regarding drivers education. The bill will do the following:

∑ Learnerís permit. Requires every teen to hold a learnerís permit for 12 months before obtaining a restricted or a full license.

∑ Passenger limitation. Limits teen drivers to no more than one non-sibling passenger under the age of 18 during the first six months of full licensing.

∑ Late-night limitation. Limits late-night driving to 9 p.m. during the first six months of full licensing unless driving to and from work or school.

∑ Cell phones. Prohibits the use of cell phones while driving until teens complete the six-month period of passenger and late-night driving restrictions. An exception is in place for reporting emergencies.

The Legislature should be commended for taking this critical step. Not only will it provide Kansas teens with the same level of driving experience as teens in other states, but it will make Kansas roads safer for all of us.

For more information about what this legislation will do, visit www.aaa.com/teens or www.kac.org/teendrivers.