COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P.O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
General Assembly Action Relating to Learners Permits, Drivers Licenses, and Driver Education Program Requirements
Action was taken by the 2002 General Assembly on several new juvenile licensing provisions and driver education program requirements. Following is a brief overview of some of these changes that will go into effect July 1, 2002.
I. 53-6.01C of the Appropriation Act.
This bill increases the fee for drivers licenses from $2.40 per year to $3. Depending on the length of time a license is valid, the fee can range from $9 to $21.
II. HB 160 Denial of driver's license for truancy.
Modifies the current statute regarding suspension of driver's licenses for truancy to authorize courts, upon a finding of a second or subsequent truancy offense, to order the denial of a driver's license for a period of one year or until the juvenile reaches the age of 18, whichever is longer, or delay the individual's ability to apply for a driver's license for a period of one year following the date he or she reaches the age of 16 and three months, as may be appropriate.
III. HB 254 Child restraint devices.
Provides for a mandatory $50 civil penalty for violations of laws that require use of child restraint devices or safety belt systems when transporting children less than 16 years old in motor vehicles, except that a court may still waive or suspend the imposition of the penalty if it finds that the violation occurred because of the defendant's financial inability to acquire a child restraint system.
IV. HB 564 Driver's licenses; use of a customer number or social security number.
Requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to assign driver's license numbers that are not social security numbers, except when applicants request in writing that their social security numbers be used as their driver's license number.
Contains four components that affect the issuance of drivers licenses and photo identification (ID) cards
(1) Virginia Residency Requirement. To receive a drivers license or ID card, an applicant must have a Virginia address. There are a few exceptions to this requirement, such as active military personnel, persons maintaining their Virginia residency while residing outside of the state because of their employment, and persons living in a Virginia locality where the post office has assigned an out-of-state mailing address.
(2) Single Document Requirement. An individual will no longer be allowed to hold both a learners permit or a drivers license and an ID card.
(3) New Virginia Residents. New Virginia residents moving from one state to another state or country have 60 days (instead of 30 days) to obtain a Virginia drivers license.
(4) Residency Documents. For proof of residency, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is prohibited from accepting immigration visas and written statements (whether notarized or not) where another person vouches for or certifies an individuals Virginia residency.
Requires all driver's license applicants who are less than 19 years old to furnish proof that they have successfully completed a driver education program approved by the State Department of Education. The bill also requires persons under 19 (rather than those under 18) to hold learner's permits at least nine months before applying for a driver's license, and authorizes the issuance of temporary driver's licenses, valid for six months, to persons who are 18 years old and hold valid driver's licenses issued in another state.
VII. HB 669 Selective Service.
Requires that every male applicant for a learner's permit, driver's license, commercial driver's license, special identification card, or renewal of any such permit, license, or card who is less than 26 years old and is either a citizen of the United States or an immigrant shall, at the time of his application, be registered in compliance with the requirement of section 3 of the Selective Service Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 451 et seq. The data pertaining to any person less than 18 years old will not be used by Selective Service to register the individual until he reaches age 18.
VIII. HB 671 Forfeiture of driver's license for driving while intoxicated.
Provides that a person loses his or her driver's license for three years if convicted of driving while intoxicated for the second time within ten years. (Currently, there is no time limit and a license could be suspended no matter how many years later the second offense occurs.)
IX. HB 686 Driver education; instruction in organ and tissue
Adds organ and tissue donor awareness to the topics that must be included in instruction for driver education. Currently, the Board of Education's standardized program for driver education must include instruction regarding alcohol and drug abuse, aggressive driving, and motorcycle awareness. The Department of Health is added to those entities cooperating in the development of the curriculum. (Driver Education Standard of Learning DE.1: The student will demonstrate an understanding of Virginia traffic laws, licensing procedures, and other responsibilities associated with the driving privilege. Key concepts include c) the organ and tissue donation designation process. This information is also included in the 2002 Curriculum and Administrative Guide for Driver Education in Virginia.)
X. HB 1193 Underage possession of alcoholic beverages; fake identification.
Provides that when any underage person who has not previously been convicted of possession of alcoholic beverages in Virginia or any other state is convicted of such a charge, the court may, under certain circumstances, defer further proceedings and place the individual on probation subject to conditions that may include the suspension or restriction of the driver's license. The bill provides further that in all such cases, the court shall require the accused to enter a treatment or education program or both, if available, that in the opinion of the court best suits the needs of the accused. If the conditions are violated, the court may enter an adjudication of guilt and proceed as otherwise provided.
XI. HB 1328 and SB 395 Child restraint devices.
Increases the maximum age of children that must be secured in child restraint devices when traveling in motor vehicles. The bill also allows restraining a child who is at least four years old but less than six years old with a standard automobile seat belt instead of a child restraint device, if the weight and size of the child is such as to make the use of such seat belt practical and the use of an approved child restraint impractical.
XII. HB 1342 and SB 522 Aggressive driving; offense and penalty.
Creates the new offense of aggressive driving and provides that a person is guilty of aggressive driving if he violates one or more of an enumerated list of traffic violations, e.g., following too closely, failure to observe lanes marked for traffic, stopping on highway, etc., with the intent to harass, intimidate, injure or obstruct another person. Aggressive driving shall be punished as a Class 2 misdemeanor, however, aggressive driving with the intent to injure another person shall be punished as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
XIII. HB 1358 Driver improvement clinics; attendance by minors.
Allows persons under 18 years of age to receive good driving points for attending driver improvement clinics if they have not been directed to attend by the DMV Commissioner or required to attend by a court.
XIV SB 148 Open Container Patron.
Establishes a violation for drivers possessing an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of a motor vehicle. This violation is a Class 4 misdemeanor. No demerit points will be assigned.
XV. SB 597 Driver education programs; distracted driving awareness.
Adds distracted driving to the requirements for driver education in the public schools and requires the Department of Motor Vehicles' driver improvement clinic programs to include instruction concerning alcohol and drug abuse, aggressive driving, distracted driving, and motorcycle awareness. (Driver Education Standard of Learning DE.12 The student will identify distractions that contribute to driver error. Key concepts include a) passengers and pets; b) vehicle accessories; and c) cell phones and other portable technology devices. This information is also included in the 2002 Curriculum and Administrative Guide for Driver Education in Virginia.)
XVII. SJ 110 Study; driver education programs.
Requests the Department of Motor Vehicles, with the assistance of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, to study the adequacy of driver education programs available to youthful drivers. The study shall include, but not be limited to, an examination of the desirability and feasibility of incorporating driving simulators and related technologies into the driver education program. The department must report to the Governor and the 2003 Session of the General Assembly.
The enrolled versions of each of these bills can be accessed at http://leg1.state.va.us. If you have additional questions, please contact Vanessa C. Wigand at (804) 225-3300, or firstname.lastname@example.org.