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Driving Laws, 2006

Currently all states plus DC have child safety seat laws and enforce a drinking age of 21. As of August 2005, all 50 states had blood alcohol concentration (bac) limits of 0.08, following concerted state and national efforts to lower the rate from 0.10. A national speed limit of 55 mph was imposed in 1974, and in 1987 it was modified to allow 65-mile-per-hour speeds on some rural freeways. The federal law was entirely repealed in 1995, giving states the right to set their own limits. As of April 2005, graduated licensing laws were in effect in 41 states plus DC, 38 of which prohibit young drivers from driving during high-risk nighttime and early morning hours.

State Minimum age for driver's license1Administrative license suspension2Alcohol ignition interlock device3Penaltiesincludeforfeiture4Mandatory belt-use law seating positionsMotorcycle helmet law5Maximum allowable speed limit
19952004
Alabama 1790 daysnonofrontyes6570
Alaska 16 + 6 mo.90 daysyesyesall18665
Arizona 1690 daysyesyesfront7185575
Arkansas 16 120 daysyesyesfront216570
California 17 4 monthsyesyesallyes5570
Colorado 173 monthsyesnofrontno6575
Connecticut 16 + 10 mo.90 daysnonofront185565
Delaware 16 + 10 mo.3 monthsyesnoall19865
DC 18 2–90 daysyesnoallyes5555
Florida 186 monthsyesyesfront72196570
Georgia 181 yearyesyesfront7yes5570
Hawaii 173 monthsyesnofront71860
Idaho 16 90 daysyesnoall186575
Illinois 17 3 monthsyesyesfront7no6565
Indiana 18 180 daysyesyesfront186570
Iowa 17180 daysyesnofrontno5570
Kansas 1630 daysyesnofront186570
Kentucky 17yesyesall219, 106565
Louisiana 1790 daysyesyesfrontyes6570
Maine 16 + 6 mo.90 daysyesyesall15106565
Maryland 17 + 9 mo.45 daysyesnofrontyes5565
Massachusetts 1890 daysyesyesallyes5565
Michigan 17 yesyesfront7yes5570
Minnesota 1690 daysyesyesfront718106570
Mississippi 16 90 daysyesyesfront7yes6570
Missouri 17 + 11 mo.30 daysyesyesfront7yes7070
Montana 16yesyesall186575
Nebraska 1790 daysyesnofrontyes6575
Nevada 1890 daysyesnoallyes5575
New Hampshire 17 + 1 mo.6 monthsyesnono6565
New Jersey 18yesnofront7yes65
New Mexico 16 + 6 mo.90 daysyesnoall186575
New York 17 variableyesyesallyes5565
North Carolina 16 + 6 mo. 30 daysyesyesfrontyes5570
North Dakota 1691 daysyesyesfront186575
Ohio 1790 daysyesyesfront18116565
Oklahoma 16 + 6 mo. 180 daysyesyesfront186575
Oregon 1790 daysyesyesallyes6565
Pennsylvania 17yesyesfront721115565
Rhode Island 17 + 6 mo.yesyesall216, 115565
South Carolina 16 + 6 mo.yesyesall216570
South Dakota 16 nonofront186575
Tennessee 17yesyesfrontyes6570
Texas 16 + 6 mo.90 daysyesyesfront72196575
Utah 1790 daysyesnoall185575
Vermont 16 + 6 mo.90 daysnoyesallyes6565
Virginia 18 7 daysyesyesfrontyes6565
Washington 1790 daysyesyesallyes5570
West Virginia 176 monthsyesnofront7yes6570
Wisconsin 16 + 9 mo.6 monthsyesyesfront718106565
Wyoming 16 + 6 mo.90 daysnoyesall196575
1. Refers to minimum age for driver's license with no restrictions on unsupervised nighttime driving or carrying passengers. Driver education may be a prerequisite, and one may be limited to carrying only seat-belted passengers.
2. How long (or if) licenses can be suspended before conviction, if drivers fail or refuse to take a chemical test.
3. Legislation for instruments designed to prevent drivers from starting their cars when breath alcohol content is at or above a set point.
4. A multiple offender's vehicle may be seized and disposed.
5. Presence of law, or age below which riders are required to wear helmet.
6. All passengers required to wear helmet.
7. Required for certain ages at all seating positions.
8. Helmet must also be carried on the motorcycle, whether or not it is worn, for persons 19 and older.
9. Helmet optional for those over listed age if they have proper insurance. (In Texas, they may instead complete a training and safety course.)
10. Helmets must be worn by cyclists holding learners' permits.
11. First-year novices required to wear helmet. (In Penn., first two years, unless driver completes a safety course.)
Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Web: www.iihs.org .

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

Most Dangerous Mode of TransportationTransportationU.S. Seat Belt Use, 1998–2005

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