With heavier-than-usual traffic expected during the spring break months of March and April, the Alabama Department of Public Safety strongly encourages motorists – particularly teen drivers and their parents – to make highway safety a priority.
"Parents, will you help us make this season of spring break a safe one?" said Col. Hugh B. McCall, director of Public Safety and the state's highest-ranking trooper. "Let's take a few minutes to go over traffic laws with our teens, especially if they will travel with teen friends. Remind them to buckle up, to focus on the road, to avoid such distractions as texting while driving and to obey speed limits and other traffic laws."
In addition, McCall said parents with teen drivers should review Alabama's Graduated Driver License law, a three-stage licensing process that places certain restrictions on young drivers to ensure they acquire experience behind the wheel before driving without supervision or restrictions:
Stage I (learner's permit): A teen is authorized to drive when accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or licensed driver age 21 or older who is occupying the front passenger seat.
Stage II (restricted license): A teen age 16 or 17 who has passed the road skills test may drive without supervision, but he or she must not have more than one passenger in the vehicle other than parents, legal guardians or family members; must not use any handheld communication devices while driving; must not drive between midnight and 6 a.m. unless accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or licensed driver age 21 or older with a parent or legal guardian's consent. (Exceptions on time restriction include driving to or from events sponsored by a school or religious organization, or going to or from a place of employment.)
Stage III (unrestricted license): A teen age 17 who has held a Stage II license for six months or longer may obtain an unrestricted license. Anyone who is age 18 or older may bypass the first two stages and obtain a Stage III license after passing the road skills test.