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Substitute House Bill No. 5446

Public Act No. 05-54

AN ACT CONCERNING ADDITIONAL TRAINING AND RESTRICTIONS FOR DRIVERS UNDER THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (d) of section 14-36 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2005):

(d) (1) No motor vehicle operator's license shall be issued to any applicant who is sixteen or seventeen years of age unless the applicant has held a learner's permit and has satisfied the requirements specified in this subsection. The applicant shall (A) present to the commissioner a certificate of the successful completion (i) in a public secondary school, a state vocational school or a private secondary school of a full course of study in motor vehicle operation prepared as provided in section 14-36e, [or] (ii) of training of similar nature provided by a licensed drivers' school approved by the commissioner, or (iii) of home training in accordance with subdivision (2) of this subsection, including, in each case, or by a combination of such types of training, successful completion of not less than [eight] twenty clock hours of behind-the-wheel, on-the-road instruction; (B) present to the commissioner a certificate of the successful completion of a course of not less than eight hours relative to safe driving practices, including a minimum of four hours on the nature and the medical, biological and physiological effects of alcohol and drugs and their impact on the operator of a motor vehicle, the dangers associated with the operation of a motor vehicle after the consumption of alcohol or drugs by the operator, the problems of alcohol and drug abuse and the penalties for alcohol and drug-related motor vehicle violations; and (C) pass an examination which shall include a comprehensive test as to knowledge of the laws concerning motor vehicles and the rules of the road and an on-the-road skills test as prescribed by the commissioner. At the time of application and examination for a motor vehicle operator's license, an applicant sixteen or seventeen years of age shall have held a learner's permit for not less than one hundred eighty days, except that an applicant who presents a certificate under subparagraph (A) of this subdivision shall have held a learner's permit for not less than one hundred twenty days and an applicant who is undergoing training and instruction by the handicapped driver training unit in accordance with the provisions of section 14-11b shall have held such permit for the period of time required by said unit. The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles shall approve the content of the safe driving instruction at drivers' schools, high schools and other secondary schools. Such [eight] hours of instruction required by this subdivision shall be included as part of or in addition to any existing instruction programs. Any fee charged for the course required under subparagraph (B) of this subdivision shall not exceed an amount prescribed by the commissioner by regulation, adopted in accordance with chapter 54. Any applicant sixteen or seventeen years of age who, while a resident of another state, completed the course required in subparagraph (A) of this subdivision, but did not complete the safe driving course required in subparagraph (B) of this subdivision, shall complete the safe driving course, and any fee charged for the course shall not exceed an amount prescribed by the commissioner by regulation, adopted in accordance with chapter 54. The commissioner may waive any requirement in this subdivision, except for that in subparagraph (C) of this subdivision, in the case of an applicant sixteen or seventeen years of age who holds a valid motor vehicle operator's license issued by any other state, provided the commissioner is satisfied that the applicant has received training and instruction of a similar nature. (2) The commissioner may accept as evidence of sufficient training under subparagraph (A) of subdivision (1) of this subsection home training as evidenced by a written statement signed by the spouse of a married minor applicant, or by a parent, grandparent, foster parent or the legal guardian of an applicant which states that the applicant has obtained a learner's permit and has successfully completed a driving course taught by the person signing the statement, that the signer has had an operator's license for at least four years preceding the date of the statement, and that the signer has not had such license suspended by the commissioner for at least four years preceding the date of the statement or, if the applicant has no spouse, parent, grandparent, foster parent or guardian so qualified and available to give the instruction, a statement signed by the applicant's stepparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt, by blood or marriage, provided the person signing the statement is qualified. (3) If the commissioner requires a written test of any applicant under this section, the test shall be given in English or Spanish at the option of the applicant, provided the commissioner shall require that the applicant shall have sufficient understanding of English for the interpretation of traffic control signs. (4) The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles may adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to implement the purposes of this subsection concerning the content of safe driving instruction at drivers' schools, high schools and other secondary schools.

Sec. 2. Section 14-36g of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2005):

(a) Each [holder of] person who holds a motor vehicle operator's license and who is sixteen or seventeen years of age shall comply with the following requirements:

(1) [For a] Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, for the period of three months after the date of issuance of such license, such person shall not transport more than [one passenger, who shall be] (A) such person's [parent] parents or legal guardian, [who] at least one of whom holds a motor vehicle operator's license, [and is at least twenty-five years of age,] or (B) not more than one passenger who is a driving instructor licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles, or a person twenty years of age or older who has been licensed to operate, for at least four years preceding the time of being transported, a motor vehicle of the same class as the motor vehicle being operated and who has not had his or her motor vehicle operator's license suspended by the commissioner during such four-year period;

(2) [For] Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, for the period beginning three months after the date of issuance of such license and ending six months after the date of issuance of such license, such person shall not transport any passenger other than as permitted under subdivision (1) of this subsection and any additional member or members of such person's immediate family;

(3) No such person shall operate any motor vehicle for which a public passenger transportation permit is required in accordance with the provisions of section 14-44 or a van pool vehicle, as defined in section 14-1;

(4) No such person shall transport more passengers in a motor vehicle than the number of seat safety belts permanently installed in such motor vehicle; [and]

(5) For a period of six months after the date of issuance of such license, no such person issued a motorcycle endorsement shall transport any passenger on a motorcycle; and

(6) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, no such person shall operate a motor vehicle on any highway, as defined in section 14-1, at or after midnight until and including 5:00 a.m. of the same day unless (A) such person is traveling for his or her employment or school or religious activities, or (B) there is a medical necessity for such travel.

(b) A person who holds a motor vehicle operator's license and who is sixteen or seventeen years of age shall not be subject to the restrictions on the number or type of passengers specified in subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of this section, or to the restrictions specified in subdivision (6) of said subsection (a), if such person is an active member of a volunteer fire company or department, a volunteer ambulance service or company or an emergency medical service organization and if such person is responding to an emergency or is carrying out his or her duties as such active member.

[(b)] (c) The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles may adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, to implement the provisions of subsection (a) of this section.

[(c)] (d) Any person who violates any provision of subsection (a) of this section shall be deemed to have committed an infraction. The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, in accordance with chapter 54, may suspend the motor vehicle operator's license of any person who commits a second or subsequent violation of the provisions of subsection (a) of this section until such person attains the age of eighteen years.

Approved June 2, 2005