Bill Tackles Distracted Teen Driving in Virginia - WSET.com - ABC13

Bill Tackles Distracted Teen Driving in Virginia

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Driving Instructor Frederick teaches 16-year-old to drive. Driving Instructor Frederick teaches 16-year-old to drive.
Sen. Steve Newman (R) introduced  SB 1165 Sen. Steve Newman (R) introduced SB 1165

Lynchburg, VA - Central Virginia has seen far too many teenagers killed in car crashes in the past year, and some of those were students at Staunton River High School.

Now, a Lynchburg politician is trying to make a change he hopes will make a big difference for teen drivers.

Senator Steve Newman's proposing that if a teenager, someone under 18 years old, is in the driver's seat, that teen can only have one other passenger in the car under the age of 21.

A local driving instructor likes some of what he sees in this bill, but not everything.

"I consider this a baby step in the right direction," said Ken Frederick, co-owner of Academy of Driving.

Frederick's taught many of our teens how to drive. We went over the teen driving bill with him. 

Frederick likes that the bill targets a big distraction for teen drivers - other teens. But digging deeper into the details, Frederick has his critiques. Take the fine-print for example: After one year with a provisional license, the teen driver can tote around up to three teen passengers, as long is they're heading to or leaving a school event.

Frederick doesn't like it.

"Two or three fellas getting ready to go to a football game on a Friday night in the car are going to be psyching themselves up - or whatever athletic activity it is, that's just an example.  I think it's too much of a distraction," said Frederick.

Newman says this bill has backing from the insurance industry.

"It is a bill that Allstate Insurance has done a massive study on and determined that a bill like this could save up to 7% of the lives of people who are killed on the highways - and that's something we should do," said Newman.

Teen traffic deaths have rocked Central Virginia. Bedford County alone had five high school students killed in four separate car crashes last year. Those tragedies helped lead to this bill.

"We are dealing with distractions. And I think anything you can do to help reduce those distractions is good," said Frederick.

This bill has several exceptions such as for family. A brother or sister would be allowed to ride in the car if a teen is behind the wheel. This bill has passed both chambers and now it's on its way to the Governor's desk.

If you want a close look at it, click here.

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