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Th e Governors’ Highway Safety Association (GHSA) recently expressed a mixture of support and concern for new graduated driver licensing rules suggested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

To the NHTSA’s suggestion of requiring 40 hours behind the wheel for novice drivers, the GHSA expressed support for getting teens needed experience, but noted that nobody really knows how many hours are necessary to help young drivers learn to handle a vehicle safely. Thus, the GHSA argued, 40 hours is a somewhat arbitrary number.

The NHTSA also suggested requiring a driver training course for all drivers seeking a license. The GHSA, however, notes that this requirement would mean a big change for many states and limit the options for young drivers seeking a license – both of which could be costly.

Finally, the NHTSA recommended requiring novice drivers to be accompanied by someone who is 21-years-old or older while they are getting their training behind the wheel. The GHSA approved of the increased age for a supervising driver, but also recommended that the person have a valid driver’s license as well.

The NHTSA would make the new requirements part of its Graduated Licensing Incentive Grant Program. To receive grant money, states would have to implement the new rules. Currently, the GHSA notes that only one or two states have these rules in place already; the others would have to change some or all of their licensing programs in order to qualify for the grants.

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