Reporting Bernie Tafoya
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) – The Illinois House has passed a measure to require online driver’s education courses for young people who don’t take such classes in high school.
WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports some young people wait until they are 18 years old to apply for a driver’s license, so they can avoid taking driver’s education classes in high school.
On Tuesday, the Illinois House voted 112-0 to approve a measure requiring anyone between the ages of 18 and 20 to take six hours of online driver’s education courses if they haven’t taken related classes before.
Under the state’s current graduated driver’s license program, teens can get a learning permit at age 15, and a driver’s license at 16 if they’ve taken at least 50 hours of classes – with 10 hours of practice driving at night.
But those 18 and older don’t have to take driver’s ed classes to get a license under the current law.
According to the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, 31,979 driver’s licenses were issued to people between the ages of 18 and 20 last year. Of those, more than 16,000 had never taken driver’s education courses.
Secretary of State Jesse White said those young drivers are taking advantage of a loophole in the graduated driving program.
“This piece of legislation is designed to take care of some of the issues that these young people have missed, because they didn’t take part in our graduated driver’s license program,” he said.
State Rep. John D’Amico (D-Chicago) sponsored the proposal.
“We don’t plan on having it right at the facility. Obviously, you can do it at a library. You can do it on your home computer,” D’Amico said.
The courses would include information on traffic laws and signs, drug and alcohol awareness, and the dangers of texting while driving.
The measure now goes to the Illinois Senate for consideration.