P. O. BOX 2120
June 12, 1998


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: General Assembly Action Relating to Learner's Permits and Driver's Licenses 

  Action was taken by the 1998 General Assembly on several new
  juvenile licensing provisions.  Specifically, changes were
  made in the following code sections: 22.1-205, 46.2-323,
  46.2-334, 46.2-335, 46.2-492, 46.2-495, 46.2-498, and 46.2-706. 
  Following is a brief overview of some of these changes. 

  I.   22.1-205.  Driver education programs (HB 896)

  Effective July 1, 1998, driver education programs shall
  include instruction concerning aggressive driving. 

  II.  46.2-334.01.   Licenses issued to persons who are not
  18 years old are subject to certain restrictions 
  (SB457/HB1014--an act to amend and reenact 46.2-495 and

  Any learner's permit or driver's license issued on or after
  July 1, 1998, to anyone who is not 18 years of age and who
  is convicted of an offense for which demerit points are
  assessed, or for violating the safety seat requirement for
  children under the age of four or the primary safety belt
  mandate for front -or back-seat passengers younger than 16
  years of age, shall be directed by the Commissioner to
  attend a driver improvement clinic.  No safe driving points
  will be awarded for voluntary or court-assigned clinic
  attendance. The young driver also will not be able to
  transport more than three passengers who are less than 18
  years old.  This limitation does not apply to members of the
  driver's family or household or while driving to or from
  school or work.  However, police may not issue a citation
  for this restriction unless the officer has cause to stop or
  arrest the driver for violating another section of the code. 

  If a person who is younger than 18 years of age is convicted
  a second time for an offense for which demerit points are
  assessable, or for violating the child restraint
  legislation, the DMV Commissioner shall suspend the young
  driver's license for 90 days.  

  If any such person is convicted a third time for an offense
  for which demerit points have been assessed, or for
  violating the child-safety restraint legislation, the
  Commissioner shall revoke the driver's privilege to operate
  a motor vehicle for one year--or until the student reaches
  the age of 18--whichever is longer. 

  Note:   These suspensions shall be consecutive to, and not
            concurrent with, any other period of license
            suspension, revocation, or denial.

  III.    46.2-323.  Minors' driver's licenses; motorcycle
            learner's permits (HB 867)

  Licenses issued to persons below age 21 will no longer
  require a profile photograph, but will continue to be
  readily distinguishable from those issued to persons 21
  years old or older.  Distinguishing characteristics shall
  include unique design elements (layout change from
  horizontal to a vertical rectangle view), and added
  descriptors within the photograph area that depict the
  month, day, and year when the person will become 21 years of

  This code change provides for a twelve-month motorcycle
  learner's permit distinct from the standard learner's
  permit.  The following limitations now apply to a permit for
  operating of a motorcycle: 

     Operation shall be limited to the period between one-half
     hour after sunrise and one-half hour before sunset.

     Operation on limited access highways is prohibited.

     Operation shall be under the immediate supervision of a
       person licensed to operate a motorcycle who is 21 years
       of age or older, or by his/her parent or legal
       guardian, or by a brother, half-brother, half-sister,
       step-brother, or step-sister 18 years of age or older.

     No person other than the operator shall occupy the

  When the motorcycle license expires, a permittee who has
  submitted an application, paid the application fee, and
  successfully completed the examinations, may be issued
  another twelve-month motorcycle learner's permit.   The
  Department of Motor Vehicles will deposit the fee collected
  for the issuance of each motorcycle learner's permit.  Three
  dollars of the fee collected for the issuance of each
  motorcycle registration and all motorcycle driver's license
  endorsement fees will be deposited into the Motorcycle Rider
  Safety Training Program Fund.

  IV.     46.2-336.  Manner of issuing original driver's
            licenses to minors (HB 19)

  Applicants under the age of 18 who hold valid driver's
  licenses issued by other states are no longer required to
  attend a Virginia judicial licensing ceremony.

  V.      46.2-492.  Uniform Demerit System (HB 872)

  Serious traffic offenses, such as persons under age 21
  driving after illegally consuming alcohol in violation of 
  18.2-266.1,  shall now be assigned six demerit points.

  VI.     46.2-706. Verification of insurance (HB327)

  The uninsured motor vehicle fee has been increased from $400
  to $500.

  VII.    Senate Joint Resolution No. 180  requests the Office of
            the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of
            Virginia to study alternatives for scheduling juvenile
            traffic cases and issuing permanant driver's licenses.

  The enrolled version of these bills can be accessed at   Any instructional resources
  developed by the Department of Education to help implement
  the new legislation will be sent directly to your driver
  education teachers.  If you have additional questions,
  please contact Vanessa C. Wigand at (804) 225-3300.