OLYMPIA – A bill to require anyone 25 or younger to complete a traffic safety education course before receiving a driver’s license passed the Senate today on a bipartisan 41-7 vote.
Senate Bill 5583 aims to increase traffic safety in Washington on the heels of a report from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission showing that 745 people were killed in crashes in 2022. The legislation is part of a package of bills to make roads safer for commuters, workers, and pedestrians this session.
“Driver’s education courses have proven effective at shaping safer habits for young drivers,” said Sen. Marko Liias (D-Everett), prime sponsor of the bill. “As we’re working to make our roads safer for everyone, this is one more step to reaching that goal and making sure everyone is equipped with the tools to help them make safe decisions behind the wheel.”
The bill requires those ages 18 to 22 to complete a full driver training education course before receiving a license, and those ages 22 to 25 to complete a condensed traffic safety education course or a self-paced, online course prior to receiving a license. Both provisions would go into effect Jan. 1, 2025.
“We need to do a better job of getting our young people prepared to become drivers. I truly believe that this bill will save lives and will prevent heartache for hundreds of families around this state,” said 14th District Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima and ranking Republican on the Senate Transportation Committee.
Additionally, the bill aims to make driver’s education courses more accessible by creating a voucher program for low-income novice drivers and a grant program for schools to reinitiate traffic safety education courses in the classroom.
The bill will now head to the House for consideration.