Getting a new driver’s license in California may get more difficult for people between the ages of 18 to 20. The state’s current provisional licensing program places restrictions on new drivers under the age of 18, but a new bill seeks to expand the restrictions to new drivers under the age of 21.

The Current and Proposed Laws

Like other states across the country, California has adopted a provisional or graduated licensing program that places certain restrictions on new drivers.

To obtain a license under the provisional licensing program, teens must hold a permit and go through driving education and training. Once teens receive a license, they are not yet given free rein. For the first 12 months, new teen drivers cannot drive between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. They are also prohibited from transporting other teen passengers unless they are accompanied by a licensed parent, guardian, certified driving instructor or other driver who is at least 25 years old.

These restrictions currently apply to new drivers aged 16 to 17, but the proposed bill would expand the restrictions to new drivers aged 18, 19 and 20. This means the restrictions would still apply to teens who wait a couple of years to get their license instead of rushing to the DMV the second they turn 16.

Teen Crash Rates

The bill is designed to keep teen drivers and the people who share the road with them safe.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death among teens in the United States, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. One-third of all deaths in the 12 to 19 age group are caused by motor vehicle accidents.

Despite new safety features in cars, the problem is not getting better. In fact, traffic fatalities are on the rise. In 2014, 1,723 drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 died in car collisions. In 2015, that number went up 9 percent to 1,886, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Graduated license programs have made a difference. In a national study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found, graduated license programs that were rated “good” succeeded in reducing the fatal crash rate by 30 percent among drivers between the ages of 15 to 17.

To extend the benefits of graduated license programs to older teens, and because many teens are waiting to get a driver’s license, some want to raise the age limit of the program.

Do you have a new teen driver in the family? Ask us about car insurance.