Tracy police will be at both high schools at lunch time Tuesday, making sure drivers with provisional licenses don’t drive with other students in the car.
Laws surrounding provisional drivers changed in January and now require that drivers between the ages of 16 and 18 not carry passengers under the age of 20 for the first 12 months they have their provisional license.
“We are not planning to cite any of the drivers,” Sgt. Tony Sheneman said. “We see this as an educational opportunity for the students. They may not like it now, but when they are adults, they’ll thank us for it later.”
Also, police will check that drivers and passengers are wearing seat belts — even drivers who can legally have teen passengers.
Drivers will be given informational pamphlets about the requirements of the new law. If someone is found breaking the law, passengers will have to get out of the car before it leaves the school grounds or the driver will have to return the car to the parking lot.
Officers will meet at their assigned locations at the high schools before the first lunch period and stay on campus through the second lunch.
Statistics from the California Highway Patrol show that more Americans 15 to 20 years old die in automobile accidents than by any other cause. It all comes down to experience, police say.
“We all remember what a thrill it was to finally get your license and pile your friends into the car for lunch,” Sheneman said. “Unfortunately, new teen drivers can’t do that. They may have a license, but it’s very important new drivers get as much time behind the wheel as possible without the distractions of friends in the car.”