BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - New drivers over the age of 17 in Louisiana will need more instruction before they can apply for their drivers licenses.
A new law goes into effect August 1st that requires drivers that are 17 to take 30 hours of classroom lessons and eight hours behind the wheel. Previously, 17-year-olds only needed six hours of classes to apply for their license and weren't required to take behind-the-wheel training.
Anyone over the age of 18 will also need eight hours of behind-the-wheel instruction. They will still need six hours in the classroom.
"We must ensure that our teenagers are prepared to take on the tremendous responsibility of safely operating a motor vehicle," said Col. Mike Edmonson with State Police.
Senate Bill 667 was passed this past session, and the law goes into effect next week, August 1st. The goal is to give teens and new drivers more classroom and behind the wheel experience before they hit the road on their own.
The Capital City ranks 23rd when it comes to worst cities in the nation for traffic. Add to that mix new & inexperienced drivers.
"The number one killer of teenagers in the United States is motor vehicle crashes, and when we look at stats like teenagers four times as likely to get into crashes than adults, it really strikes a nerve with us," said State Police Capt. Doug Cain.
"The statistics show that the 15 and 16-year-olds, since they have been required to take this 38 hour course, the rate of accidents have gone down tremendously where the 17 to 19 has been increasing," said Mom's Driving Academy's Susan Menville.
Lindsey Ellis, 15, is on her last day of driver's ed behind the wheel. When she first started, she said, "I was kind of nervous."
"I feel a lot more comfortable, and I feel like I know a lot more," said Ellis.
Ellis said the hours in the classroom and car are well spent and can only help future drivers.
"It's a lot more preparing, and you learn a lot when you take the class," said Ellis. "You probably wouldn't know as much if you didn't take the class."
The price will be increasing for driver's ed courses, and individuals would have to pay for those costs, not the state.