License to drive: Stricter driving laws put into place for state’s teen drivers

Commentary by Bailey Pennington
Times-News correspondent

Troy Shaw, left, hands the keys to his son, Stephen Shaw, right. / Photo illustration by Bailey Pennington, Times-News correspondent

One of the biggest moments in a teenager’s life comes at age 16 with the chance to earn a driver’s license. Of course, there are requirements and rules to go through before being able to get a license, but these laws are changing forNorth Carolina.

Car crashes and car-related accidents are the No. 1 cause of death for teens, killing nearly one in three. Teens are four times as likely to be in a car accident in comparison to all other age groups. Since the beginning of January of this year, 50 teens inNorth Carolinaalone have already lost their lives in car accidents.

Just recently inNorth Carolina, teen driving laws were changed and made stricter. The two biggest changes were related to driving experience prior to receiving a license and speeding.

Following the passage of the North Carolina Senate Bill 636, it is now a state law that all teen drivers are required to have at least 60 hours of driving experience, 10 of which must include night-time driving, before being

allowed to receive a limited provisional driver’s license. In order to do this, teens with a learner’s permit must log their driving hours and have it signed by their supervising driver.

In order to receive a full provisional driver’s license, better known as “after-nines,” teens must keep another driving log that must have 12 hours minimum, with at least six of those hours occurring at night-time.

The other major change is the ability of law enforcement to arrest teen drivers for excessive speeding. If teen drivers under age 18 are caught speeding more than 15 miles per hour above the limit, or faster than 80 miles per hour, police must arrest them and their license will be revoked for at least 30 days following a judicial hearing.

Though these changes in driving laws seem strict and controversial, they were set in place for safety reasons. With teen driving being the leading cause of death, the state ofNorth Carolinadecided to take a stand against the issue in a big way.

The passing and enforcement of stricter driving laws makes it more difficult for young drivers to put themselves in dangerous situations as well as promotes more driving experience. The passing of these laws is not done to be a nuisance to teenagers, but for protection purposes, and should be viewed as such. Stricter driving laws for teens are meant to save lives.

For more information on the changes in teen driving laws forNorth Carolina, please contact your local DMV office or the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

To contact theAlamanceCountydriver’s license examiner inBurlington, please call (336) 570-6811 or you can visit NCDOT’s website at To become a part of the teen movement to bring awareness to car-related accidents in young adults, visit

 Bailey Pennington is a senior at Eastern Alamance High School and a Teens & Twenties writer.


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