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Johnson thanks lawmakers for new teen driving rules

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson today thanked lawmakers for passing the common-sense fix she proposed for the state's new restrictions for teen drivers with a Level 2 Graduated Driver License.

The legislature today gave final approval to House Bill 4533 and sent it to Gov. Rick Snyder for his consideration.

The legislation would allow teens with Level 2 Graduated Driver Licenses to drive between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. if they are going to or from authorized activity such as school, a school-sanctioned event or an event sponsored by a tax-exempt religious organization, or to or from a sporting or extracurricular event. It also would allow Level 2 drivers to carry more than one unrelated passenger younger than 21 if accompanied by a parent, guardian or designated licensed adult age 21 or older or if they are traveling to or from an authorized activity.

"I commend lawmakers for listening to parents across the state and acting quickly to pass these reasonable exceptions to the driving restrictions," Johnson said. "I especially want to thank Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker and Reps. Margaret O'Brien and Bill Rogers for their leadership in moving this legislation. These added exceptions maintain safeguards for new drivers while allowing them to drive themselves and their friends to legitimate activities."

The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Bill Rogers (R-Brighton), Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton) and Rep. Margaret O'Brien (R-Portage) sponsored similar legislation and worked with Rogers on the final version that was passed today.

"These new exceptions protect teens while still giving them the needed ability to travel to school and extracurricular events," Rogers said. "The changes make the new restrictions fair and consistent for new drivers."

"Families throughout the state were rightly concerned about the inconvenience the new restrictions created," Schuitmaker said. "By adding these new exceptions, we're keeping Michigan roads safe and allowing parents greater ability to decide what sort of after school events their teen can drive to."

Under restrictions that went into effect March 30, Level 2 license-holders were not allowed to carry more than one unrelated passenger unless they were driving to or from a school event. They also could not drive between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless they are going to or from work, or accompanied by a parent, guardian or designated licensed adult age 21 or older.

Many Michigan families found the restrictions burdensome and contacted their lawmaker to have the rules changed.

Teens progress to Graduated Driver License Level 2 status after turning 16, completing segments one and two of the driver's education course and passing a road-skills test. They also must be free of violations, suspensions and at-fault crashes, among other requirements. To get a Level 3 license, teens must be 17 years old and be free of violations, suspensions and at-fault crashes. Level 3 license-holders do not face any driving restrictions.

Visit the Department of State web site www.Michigan.gov/sos for more information about the Graduated Driver License program, or office locations and services, or sign up for the official Department of State Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/Michsos) or Facebook updates (www.facebook.com/Michigansos).

Customers also may call the Department of State Information Center to speak to a customer service representative at (888) SOS-MICH (767-6424).

(Note: This report is provided as a service to our readers and a service to the group or individual mentioned in the release. Usually, only minor editing is done. The group or individual is responsible for all information provided.)

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