California Association for Safety Education

California’s Graduated Licensing Law  

    In 1997 California made history by enacting the most comprehensive graduated license bill in the nation to give teenagers the necessary experience as drivers while limiting their exposure to risky driving situations. The effort of a coalition of traffic safety advocates (more than 50 organizations) made it all possible. The bill was co-sponsored by the California State Automobile Association, the Automobile Club of Southern California, and the California Association for Safety Education.

    On October 8, 1997, Gov. Pete Wilson signed into law Senate Bill 1329, The Brady/Jared Teen Driver Safety Act of 1997,” requiring teenagers to have more driving experience before being fully licensed. The law was named for Brady Grasinger and Jared Cunningham, two teens who were killed in separate auto crashes in Southern California.

    Starting July 1, 1998, the law required those under 18 to hold an instruction permit for at least six months, rather than the old requirement of 30 days, before obtaining a provisional license. During the first six months of a teen's provisional license, no passengers under 20 except for immediate family are allowed unless a licensed driver age 25 or older is present.

    During the first year of a teen’s provisional license, driving between midnight and 5 a.m. is prohibited unless a licensed driver age 25 or older is present, with exceptions for work, medical necessity, school events and transporting immediate family. Parents must also certify that their teens have 50 hours of driving practice -- 10 of which must be at night -- during the permit period. Existing requirements for driver education and training remain unchanged.


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