Traffic Watch: Teen Drivers

by Joanna Baker

For most teens, getting a driver's license is a momentous occasion. It still can be, but a few changes are in store for first time drivers.

Texas law (effective January 1, 2002) incorporates parts of what's being called the graduated driver licensing system. Lufkin police say it is really an attempt to keep our roadways and our new drivers a little safer, especially since a number of fatalities involve young drivers and occur between midnight and two a.m.

Under the new laws, a licensed driver at least 21 years old must accompany a teen driver with a learner's permit. This is an increase from the original age of 18.

For the first six months after a teen receives a driver's license, the teen cannot operate a vehicle between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. The only exceptions are trips to work, school activities, or a medical emergency.

Another rule in place during the first six months, is the teen cannot carry more than one passenger under 21 who is not a family member.