Driver permit bill becomes law without governor’s signature

The law is the fourth this session to pass into law without Cooper’s signature

RALEIGH — A bill modifying limited provisional licenses became law without Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s signature.

This is the fourth bill during the current session of the General Assembly to become law without the governor’s signature.

The other bills passing into law without Cooper’s signature include laws on hotel safety issues, rioting and civil disorder penalties, and a law altering the governing structure of schools for the deaf and blind. All three bills have been introduced in the previous legislative session and received vetoes from Cooper.

The enacted legislation is Senate Bill 157, Limited Provisional License Modification. The bill passed with strong bipartisan support in both chambers; 38-5 in the Senate and 92-15 in the House.

The governor said in a statement about the bill, “I have concerns that this law could make our roads less safe, and I encourage the Division of Motor Vehicles and the legislature to monitor its effects closely.”

Thousands of teen drivers were hindered in obtaining their licenses by the COVID-19 pandemic, causing a massive backlog statewide at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A temporary fix similar to that in the bill was offered last year but did little to alleviate the backlog issue, prompting lawmakers to make the time period change permanent during the current session.

The bill took effect May 8 and alters the waiting period between going from a learner’s permit to a provisional license down to nine months. Prior to the bill being enacted into law, drivers had to wait 12 months.

Another change in the law will allow non-family members to ride with a driver during the nine-month provisional license timeframe.

By A.P. Dillon

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