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Montgomery, Alabama

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Lawmakers seek new teen driving restrictions

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The Associated Press reported yesterday that Alabama’s State Highway Safety Coordinating Committee will address teen driving concerns at the next legislative session in an attempt to prevent motor vehicle accidents and deaths.

In an effort to make Alabama’s highways safer, the committee seeks to limit the number of passengers a teen can have in the car and ban cell phone usage while driving. The package of bills would toughen the current law that says 16-year-old drivers can only have four passengers, reducing it to one passenger.

The package will address concerns beyond teens, including drunk drivers and seat belt use.

The committee’s other proposals would:

_rescind a law that bars police forces in towns with populations of less than 19,000 from patrolling interstate highway.

_prohibit those 18 and younger from using cell phones while driving.

_create a “super drunk” law providing higher penalties for people arrested for driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 percent or higher. Alabama’s drunken driving law currently applies at 0.08 percent blood alcohol level.

_clarify a gray area in state law to make sure drunken driving convictions more than five years old are admissible in court.

_toughen penalties for people caught driving without a license or insurance.

_increase the penalty for not wearing a seat belt from $25 to $50 and require adults in the back seat of vehicles to buckle up. Adults in back seats are not currently covered by the law.