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Lawmakers Say No School Means No Car

Maryland and Other States Attempt to Reduce Truancies

In March, Maryland House of Delegates approved a bill that would deny driver's licenses to students with 10 or more unexcused absences in the previous calendar year. "The bill would require school districts to report each case of truancy to the Motor Vehicle Administration, and the student would have to present an attendance record to the state to get a permit."

The bill does not suspend privileges, however, of students who already have a license and are truant. "Maryland does not require students to continue school after age 16, and lawmakers were concerned that denying them licenses for absenteeism might have the unintended effect of encouraging them to drop out."

Other states with policies that tie student attendance or achievements to the privilege of driving:

  • Nine states, including West Virginia and Texas, require attendance in school to receive a license.

  • Virginia, Illinois, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Tennessee require students younger than 18 to have a high school diploma or GED, or to be regularly attending school and be in good standing, to get a license.

Source: Lisa Rein, Washington Post (Friday, March 16, 2007).