Utah's new Passenger Limitation law, which went into effect July 1, 2001, as part of the state's Graduated Driver Licensing, restricts new drivers from carrying teen passengers for the first six months after getting their license.
What is Graduated Driver Licensing?
In Utah, the state law requires a program that covers new drivers under age 18, allowing them to gain experience gradually by limiting their exposure to driving situations proven to be particularly dangerous.
How does it work?
Because teens are more at risk in traffic crashes, young drivers must spend more time behind the wheel to gain experience. After a teen passes the knowledge, physical, and vision tests, the Division of Driver Licensing issues a learner's permit. The new driver must then log 40 hours of adult-supervised driving practice, complete a driver education course, have the learner's permit for at least six months, and be at least 16 years old before receiving a driver's license.
A minimum of 10 of the 40 practice hours must occur during darkness. The program restricts driving between midnight and 5 a.m. for new drivers until age 17. (There are exemptions for employment and agricultural work and for teens who travel in a school bus from a school-sponsored event and arrive at the school after midnight. They may drive from the school directly to their home.)
Because teen drivers are at greater risk when driving with other teens, for the first six months the new driver holds a license, he or she cannot have a passenger under age 18 who isn't an immediate family member. (There are exemptions for when a licensed driver over 21 years old is in the front seat, for agricultural work, and in case of emergency.)
Practice is the key to learning and developing skills. Driving practice may start in an empty parking lot so the learner can get the feel of steering, stopping, backing up, and parking. As the new driver gains competence, practice can move to roads with light traffic to allow development of scanning skills, following traffic signs and lights, entering traffic, changing lanes, and making turns. Roads with moderate traffic provide opportunities to learn to adjust speed and position, maintain space margins, and meet and follow other traffic. Then it's time to learn advanced skills such as freeway driving; passing on a two-lane road; and driving in snow, fog, and rain.
How parents can make the most of practice sessions:
|•||Choose an appropriate route for each session and drive it before the session.|
|•||Before each session, review skills and explain the session's objective.|
|•||Be calm, patient, and alert. Avoid eating, reading and listening to music. Limit passengers.|
|•||Sit where you can put your left hand on the steering wheel to help guide the new driver if necessary.|
|•||Monitor traffic and the new driver's behavior.|
|•||Before giving directions, check mirrors. Give directions at least a block in advance.|
|•||Give directions by saying where the action will take place, and then describe the action ("At the next intersection, turn left").|
|•||Use the word "right" to mean a direction only.|
|•||Remember that a good demonstration of what to do can save time.|
Download Utah driver log here (PDF file).