The Idaho legislature passed a graduated drivers’ license bill to help increase highway safety and reduce the number of fatal accidents involving teenage drivers. The Idaho legislative action follows that of Washington state, which enacted a similar bill last month. The Idaho bill amends existing law to require that drivers under age 17 who have successfully completed a driver’s training course must drive at least four months on a supervised instruction permit before being eligible to apply for a Class D driver’s license. The bill also defines four types of instruction permits and provides terms and conditions of a supervised permit. Government statistics show the average U.S. auto fatality rate was 30 deaths per 100,000 for teen drivers in 1998, compared with a rate of 13 for drivers aged 20 and older. Idaho’s teen death rate was the 14th highest in the country at 69 deaths per 100,000 licensed drivers – more than 18 percent of all fatal crashes.
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