Massachusetts mulls higher driving age

March 28, 2006 at 12:51 PM

BOSTON, March 28 (UPI) -- State legislators in Massachusetts are contemplating raising the minimum drivers license age to 17 to reduce traffic fatalities.

New Jersey makes teenagers wait the longest -- 17 -- to apply for a driver's license, but also has one of the lowest fatality rates in the country for 16-year-old drivers, who can have a learner's permit, said Jim Wright, a highway safety specialist at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Massachusetts legislation being considered would raise the minimum age for a learner's permit by six months to 16 and double the duration of the learner's permit to one year, so teenagers could not obtain a junior license until they reached 17, the Boston Herald said.

The bill also would require parents to drive with their children for 50 hours, including 10 in the winter and 10 at night, and certify under oath that their sons or daughters completed the training requirements.

It also prohibits a learner from transporting anyone under 18 who is not a family member, the Boston Globe said.

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