Experts weigh in on new teen driving laws

GENESEE COUNTY — A new driving law is restricting the driving hours and amount of passengers a teen can transport, the Michigan Secretary of State announced last month.

Some of the Michiganders bearing a vertical driver’s license can no longer be on the road from 10 p.m.-5 a.m. and cannot exceed their first passenger under the age of 21.

The legislation is dubbed First & 10.

“What we see is that the more kids there are in the car, the more distracted the driver which results in more accidents. And a vast majority of these crashes occur during the evening hours,” said Lt. Stephen Sipes of the State Police post in Flint.

“In theory it’s a good idea but in practicality we’ll have to see,” said Byron Major of Major Driving School.

Major said that while reducing the amount of teenagers in the car is always a good idea to reduce the crash rate, this new law might cause more teen drivers to be out on the roads in individual vehicles.

“So it might be a wash,” he said. “If it doesn’t lessen the amount of teenagers on the road, it’s not going to do much.”

Under former state law, teenagers already had to stay off the streets as a driver between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m.

“I don’t see why they had to tweak it,” Major said.

Sipes says that as a parent of a teenager one year away from driver’s training, he’s very happy with the law.

“They’re less experienced drivers,” he said.

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