The House Transportation Committee held an Executive Session about HB 1440 on February 21st and February 22nd. During the Executive Session Vice Chairman John Hikel and Representative Kyle Jones proposed Amendment 0645h, which would…
1. Make HB 1440 a 3 year pilot program.
2. Require parents of teenagers who choose the online option to take an online training module before providing behind-the-wheel training for their teen.
3. Require parents to provide 20 hours of behind-the-wheel training for their teen.
4. Allow only a teenager’s parent, guardian, foster parent, grandparent or step parent to provide the 20 hours of behind-the-wheel training time a teen receives. (Instead of any adult over the age of 30 as the bill currently states.)
5. A parent wouldn’t be allowed to provide the behind-the-wheel training for their teen if they’ve had convictions in the past 10 years for reckless driving, driving or operating under the influence of drugs or liquor under, or aggravated driving while intoxicated.
6. If a teenager who chooses the online option fails the written test or the driving test, they would have to attend a driving school before being allowed to take the tests again before they turn 18.
Amendment 0645h addresses concerns expressed by the Committee and makes HB 1440 a more passable bill, but still preserves its original intent (to provide NH teens with an affordable, high quality online driver ed/parent provided behind-the-wheel training option). The Transportation Committee voted 15-2 to pass Amendment 0645h with the intention of modifying it later by passing Amendment 0887h (another proposed amendment).
Then the Committee voted 14-2 to pass Amendment 0887h, an amendment that would require teens that choose an online driver ed option to complete 10 hours of behind-the-wheel training with a driver ed instructor. This amendment is flawed because driving schools have said that they’d charge the same for 10 hours of behind-the-wheel training as they currently charge for driver ed. In states that allow online driver ed, but require teens to get behind-the-wheel training from an instructor, 10 hours of behind-the-wheel training costs at least $600. Amendment 0887h clearly defeats the purpose of HB 1440. Teens who currently cannot afford driver ed would still not be able to afford it. Vice Chairman Hikel and Representative Kyle Jones were the only reps on the Committee to vote against Amendment 0887h.
Then the committee “married” the two amendments they passed to create another amendment—Amendment 0968h. Unfortunately very little compromising could be done since the two amendments were mutually exclusive. Amendment 0968h would require teens that choose an online driver ed option to complete 10 hours of behind-the-wheel training with a driver ed instructor, just like Amendment 0887h (the bad amendment). The only part it shares with Amendment 0645h (the good amendment) is that it makes the online option proposed in the Driver Ed Bill a 3 year pilot program.
Amendments 0968h (the bad “married” amendment) and 0645h (the good amendment) will be heading to the House floor with HB 1440. The House will vote on HB 1440 March 7th or 8th, they will decide which amendment will be added to the bill. Rep. Laura Jones will floor fight for HB 1440 and Amendment 0645h, as that is the *only *amendment that improves the Driver Ed Bill and doesn’t destroy it. *Rep. Jones will fight for this bill on the House floor, but we need to fight for it before it gets there! *
*Please call your state representatives and ask them to support HB 1440 and Amendment 0645h – not any other amendment – before March 7th. To find the contact info for your state reps, go to House Members
This bill will pass with a bad amendment unless we speak up.