House approves Rep. Liz Pike’s teen driver safety bill
House of Representatives voted Friday, 53-44, to approve a measure that would set up a temporary pilot program in Clark County to require teen drivers under the age of 18 to display a “new driver” decal in their vehicles.
“I am horrified by the high number of teen fatalities and serious injury accidents on our roads. New, young drivers represent just 11 percent of all drivers in Washington state, yet that population accounts for 35 percent of serious accidents in Clark County,” said Pike, R-Camas. “This bill is one solution to reduce the number of these statistics among our teens by making the rest of us more aware of them sharing the roadway with us, just as seeing a “Student Driver” placard on a driver training vehicle has a similar effect.”
If the bill becomes law, the Department of Licensing (DOL) would establish a temporary program in Clark County that would require drivers under the age of 18 to affix a “new driver” decal to any vehicle he or she is driving. The red decal with white lettering would be sold for a nominal fee by DOL equal to the cost of producing and issuing it.
The measure also requires DOL to provide a report to the Legislature by Dec. 31, 2019 outlining the program's impact on public safety. The program is set to expire on July 1, 2020, unless the Legislature decides to implement it statewide.
Pike says in 2010, the state of New Jersey passed a similar law and it reduced accidents by 9.5 percent — or about 3,200 fewer crashes involving teens and was estimated to save nearly 1,000 lives.
“My sole purpose for advancing this bill is to save lives. If this pilot project demonstrates that positive results can be gained by reducing the horrendous number of highway accidents with our young drivers, it is my hope the Legislature could revisit this program as a statewide effort,” added Pike.
The bill now goes to the Senate for further consideration.
PHOTO CAPTION: During debate on the House floor, Rep. Liz Pike asked lawmakers to approve her teen driver safety legislation, House Bill 1159.
###Washington State House Republican Communications