student driver 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The Knesset Economic Affairs Committee approved on Monday Transportation
Ministry plans to institute a new graduated driver’s license program that pushes
the driving age forward, but extends the period in which new drivers must be
accompanied by an experienced driver.
As of July 1, students will be able
to start driving lessons at 16-and-a-half, and at 16 and nine months they can
take their driving test, as opposed to the current minimum age of
Despite this ability to operate a vehicle at a younger age, drivers
will need to be accompanied by an experienced driver for their first six months
on the road, the ministry added.
Initiated by Transportation Minister
Israel Katz, the new program is designed to reduce car accidents, the office
The rule will apply to all new drivers under age 24, and falls
under Section 104 of the Traffic Ordinance, the Economic Affairs Committee
“The amendment will upgrade and improve the experience of new
drivers on the road,” said MK Avishay Braverman (Labor), chairman of the
Economic Affairs Committee.
Ronen Moskovitz, head of the National Road
Safety Authority, emphasized that at present only three months accompanied
driving are required and that it is insufficient.
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According to data
gathered by the authority, accidents rise after this period.
the escort period is therefore crucial.
The authority is in the process
of creating a pool of volunteer experienced drivers who will be able to work
with young drivers who would otherwise have no one to escort them, he said. The
database of volunteers is to be launched within two months.
conclusion of this mandatory period, the driver must submit a signed statement,
co-signed by the driving escort, guaranteeing that they have completed 50 hours
of accompanied driving, the ministry explained.
Following the receipt of
this statement, the Transportation Ministry will issue the new driver a
permanent plastic license.
The accompaniment period requires 50 hours of
driving, of which 20 must be in urban areas, 15 must be in interurban areas and
15 must be between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Divided into two sections, this
period will feature three months during which the driver must be accompanied
both day and night and a second three months during which he or she must only be
escorted at night, the ministry said.
“Data shows that a much higher
percentage of young people who drive without accompaniment are involved in road
accidents than those who go through an escort period,” Katz said, stressing the
positive impact the program will have on new drivers.
As the program will
affect all drivers getting their licenses on or after July 1, the Transportation
Ministry and the National Road Safety Authority will begin an extensive
advertising campaign in May using television, radio, billboards and Internet,
the ministry said.
Deputy Transportation Minister MK Tzipi Hotovely
(Likud-Beytenu), stressed how important it is to gain road experience,
particularly at night.
Transportation Ministry director-general Uzi
Yitzhaki reiterated the importance of only allowing experienced drivers on the
“Under the framework of the campaign ‘Gain experience – get a
license,’ we will present all the information to the public and it will already
appear on the document the students get after passing the driving test,”
Meanwhile, anyone who has gone through a driving training
course in the IDF will be exempt from the accompaniment program, the committee
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