Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/27/1995 01:30 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HOUSE BILL 57                                                                
       "An Act relating to  driver's licensing; and  providing                 
       for an effective date."                                                 
  JEFF LOGAN, STAFF TO REPRESENTATIVE  JOE GREEN, testified in                 
  support of HB 57  which would establish new rules  for young                 
  drivers.    He stated  that  due  to the  high  incidence of                 
  accidents,  injury  and death  among  teenage  drivers, many                 
  states and  other political  jurisdictions are changing  the                 
  rules which grant teenagers the "license" to drive.                          
  He  added  that  language  in   HB  57  establishes  certain                 
  conditions  during  the  provisional   stage  which  include                 
  restrictions  on  nighttime driving  so  that driving  takes                 
  place in less dangerous circumstances.  Mr. Logan added that                 
  HB 57 was designed to allow  the Department of Public Safety                 
  (DPS) to  take advantage  of new  federal  legislation.   He                 
  stated that  passage of the  legislation would help  to stop                 
  the teenage carnage on highways.                                             
  (Tape Change HFC 95-104, Side 1).                                            
  Mr.  Logan  provided a  sectional  analysis of  the proposed                 
  Co-Chair Foster voiced  concern on how well  the legislation                 
  would work in the village areas.                                             
  DEPARTMENT  OF  PUBLIC  SAFETY, stated  that  the Department                 
  issues statewide a restricted license (off-systems license).                 
  Currently,  if  an  individual fifteen  (15)  years  old was                 
  driving, they would be required to have a driving permit and                 
  to be driving with  someone over nineteen (19) years  of age                 
  and who had been licensed at least one year.  The bill would                 
  not change that  language.  She continued  that licenses are                 
  issued in village offices, and are  restricted in order that                 
  those people can drive specifically  in those village areas.                 
  Co-Chair  Foster  reiterated that  it  was difficult  to get                 
  licenses  in   the  village  areas,   indicating  that   the                 
  legislation would make that process more difficult.                          
  Ms. Hensley emphasized that the  legislation was proposed to                 
  save young adult lives.   The graduated license system  does                 
  not  require an  individual  to have  any  type of  learning                 
  driving experience.  Young adults in Alaska learn driving by                 
  "trial  and  error".   She  pointed  out  that  there is  no                 
  driver's education available  in the school system  and that                 
  28% of youth are involved in crashes.                                        
  Ms. Hensley advised that Alaska applied through the National                 
  Highway Safety administration for a grant to help offset any                 
  costs for implementation of the program.   She added that if                 
  the legislation  was passed,  the Department  will show  how                 
  well the program works.                                                      
  Representative Brown  questioned the  restrictions on  young                 
  adult  drivers  between  the  hours  of  1 a.m.  to  5  a.m.                 
  Representative Parnell thought the primary factor of concern                 
  was safety and noted that time of night was a dangerous time                 
  to be driving  noting that  most crashes occur  in the  late                 
  hours  of  the night.    Representative Navarre  thought the                 
  legislation would create a financial  burden on young adults                 
  in requiring  them to  pay an  additional $10  dollars.   He                 
  recommended adding  Driver's Education  classes to  the high                 
  school students curriculum.                                                  
  Representative  Therriault   asked  if   other  states   had                 
  incorporated this restriction.   Ms. Hensley noted  that the                 
  National  Highway  Safety  Administration  has  made  grants                 
  available to two states,  California and Maryland.   Both of                 
  those states  have reported a  5% reduction  in crashes  for                 
  drivers between the ages of 15 - 17 years old.                               
  Representative  Parnell  inquired  about  the  $10  thousand                 
  dollar  fiscal request for  the computer work  station.  Ms.                 
  Hensley stated that the cost would include an entire station                 
  with desk, work  and computer  table, chair, and  everything                 
  else needed to set-up a work space for one individual.                       
  Representative Brown  asked if  the provisions  in the  bill                 
  were tied to  the federal requirements.  Ms.  Hensley stated                 
  that  the only  provisions required  would be  the  hours of                 
  curfew and the age of the licensed driver who must accompany                 
  the  instructed young adult.   She emphasized  that this was                 
  not a federal law, it was a grant.                                           
  Representative  Parnell  MOVED  to  report   HB  57  out  of                 
  Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with  the                 
  accompanying fiscal note.  There being NO OBJECTION,  it was                 
  so ordered.                                                                  
  HB   57  was   reported  out   of  Committee   with  a   "no                 
  recommendation" and with a fiscal note by  the Department of                 
  Public Safety dated 3/10/95.                                                 

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