New Iowa law hopes make teen drivers safer on the road - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

New Iowa law hopes make teen drivers safer on the road

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LEE COUNTY, Ia. (WGEM) -

Police say teenagers are some of the riskiest drivers on the road. In fact, the crash rate for teens is four times the rate for drivers 20 and older.

Now, a law that was just passed in Iowa aims to help teens drive safer.

The new law signed by Governor Terry Branstad Wednesday requires teenagers to have their learner's permit for 12 months instead of the current 6 months.

And many people think it will help inexperienced drivers be more prepared when they hit the road alone.

Fort Madison High School freshman Jack Buttjer has a driver's permit and says he's been practicing his driving skills lately so he can get his license.

Buttjer says he thinks inexperienced drivers, like himself, could benefit from more time on the road with their parents.

"Young drivers will have more experience on the road in different weather conditions," said Buttjer.

Keokuk Assistant Police Chief Jay Whitaker agrees that now that students will have to spend a whole year behind the wheel with an adult they will have the opportunity to drive during all weather conditions.

"To have that adult with you, like your parent, helps you maneuver through situations like snowy roads, icy conditions," said Whitaker.   

Statistics actually show that when teens drive with their parents the likelihood of an accident is low, but as soon as the teen is alone in the vehicle, the risk skyrockets.

"The more time a teenage driver can spend behind the wheel with an adult, like a parent or guardian, will give them the ability to better maneuver those dangers that can occur on the roadway," said Whitaker.

And some parents, who've taught their kids how to drive, say the more miles they drive with them the safer they feel.

"I think the more experience you have doing anything is a benefit to you and by following your parents examples, hopefully they're good ones, it's a learning experience still going on."

The law goes into effect January 1st of next year.

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