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New Licensing Requirements for Teens Starting January 1

Kansas’ new Graduated Driver’s License legislation (House Bill 2143) takes effect January 1, 2010. This new legislation was developed to help young drivers obtain more experience, and become safer drivers prior to becoming a fully licensed driver. The new restrictions address key issues that can create problems for a novice driver, such as late night driving, use of electronic devices, and multiple passengers.

Teens already holding valid instructional permits, as well as restricted and full driver’s licenses, including farm permits prior to January 1, 2010, are included in the Grandfather Clause, and will not be under the GDL provisions. Any teen driver receiving a license or permit on January 1, and thereafter, will be under the GDL requirements.

For those drivers covered by the GDL, no wireless communication devices are to be used while driving except to report illegal activity or to summon emergency help. At the minimum age of 16-1/2 a driver can be eligible for a full, unrestricted license, however they must have met all of the prior requirements and have no infractions in the previous six months. Once a driver has a full, unrestricted license, use of wireless devices is permitted.

The minimum age for an Instructional Permit is 14, and the permit expires in one year, however, it may be renewed. If an individual is under the age of 16, they must have a written application of parent/guardian. To receive an instructional permit, a teen must pass vision and written examinations. An adult (at least 21 years of age) with a valid driver’s license and at least one year of driving experience must be present in the front seat with the driver.

A Restricted License is offered to teens who are a minimum of 15 years of age, and the Restricted License is issued only with the written application of a parent/guardian. The teen must have held an Instructional Permit for at least one year, and must have completed at least 25 hours of supervised driving. Someone 15 or younger must have successfully completed an approved Driver’s Education course (it is not required if the driver is applying at age 16).

A Full (Unrestricted) License is available at age 17, if first time applicant, not including instruction permit. To receive a full, unrestricted license, teens must pass vision, written, and driving exams; must provide proof of age and identification; and a signed affidavit of parent or guardian, stating applicant has completed at least 50 hours of adult (at least age 21) supervised driving with at least 10 of those hours being at night.

A Farm Permit can be issued at a minimum age of 14. The driver must reside on a farm (a parcel of land larger than 20 acres used in agricultural operations), or be employed for compensation on a farm. The Farm Permit is issued only with a written application of parent/guardian.

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