SALT LAKE CITY -- A local lawmaker wants to give teenagers who are arrested for driving under the influence a chance to regain their driver's license.
Utah's law, which has been in effect since July 2009, means a minor who has any measurable amount of alcohol in his or her system will lose their license for 120 days or until they're 21 years old, whichever is longer.
"There are now kids in the system that reality is really coming home to them now," said Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, sponsor of Senate Bill 28.
Jenkins proposes changes with his bill because for many teenagers who have lost their driving privileges, it can be up to five years before they get a license.
A first violation would mean a person younger than 19 who loses their driver's license because they were driving under the influence of alcohol, would lose their license for two years or until their are 21, whichever is longer.
But, said Jenkins, the courts could reinstate the teenager's driving privileges after two years if the teenager completes probation successfully, undergoes counseling, gets into treatment programs and the parents provide a signed statement to the court saying the teenager has not consumed any alcohol.
The bill, which was on the Senate second-reading calendar, was approved 26-1 Monday by the Senate and now goes on the third-reading calendar for final approval before going to the House for final consideration.
Jenkins said he has heard from parents who are upset by the current law that does not allow for a second chance.
The bill also provides a chance for reinstatement of driving privileges for those who are between ages 19 and 21 who are arrested for driving under the influence.
A judge could reinstate the driver's license after six months if the person has completed counseling and a substance abuse program, has not driven during the suspension period and provides a sworn statement that they have not consumed alcohol during the suspension period.