New requirements for first time drivers

New Driving Law

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - A new law will take effect August 1 requiring new drivers age 17 and up to take more drivers education classes and time behind the wheel.

Currently, 15 and 16 year olds take a 38-hour course. Thirty hours are spent in the classroom and 8 hours are spent behind the wheel.

Seventeen and 18 year olds were not required to take 38 hours. Instead each were only expected to spend a total of 6 hours in the classroom and zero hours behind the wheel.

To some state legislators, having new drivers spend no time behind the wheel was disturbing. So some changes were made to the current stipulation.

The new changes will require 17-year-olds to take the full 38-hour course and 18 and up will have to spend 6 hours in the classroom with 8 hours behind the wheel.

"It's an effort to make the roadways safer for all of us and hopefully will lower our insurance rates as well," La. State Police Trooper James Anderson said.

Owner of Summers Driving Academy in LeBleu Settlement, Jerry Summers said if a student already took the drivers education course before August 1, then it's already done. But if a student registers after August 1, they will be required to follow the new changes.

"Six hours of class with no driving is not enough instruction in order for them to be safe around you or other people on the road," Summer said.

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.