Dropout driving bill could affect hundreds of students in the Lowcountry

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - State lawmakers are one step closer to making big changes when it comes to teens and drivers licenses.

Under the bill that's moved forward, high school dropouts could lose what many of us consider a rite of passage.

The new bill may affect hundreds of students right here in Charleston. At North Charleston High School, the graduation rate is one of the lowest in the state at 42 percent.

So students will want to think twice before skipping class or dropping out of school, if a new bill is passed that would take away their driving privileges.

According to the bill, schools would have to inform the DMV if a student has seven days of unexcused absences or if a student is expelled or drops out before graduation. The student would then lose their license until they are 18.There would be some exceptions to the bill allowing students to drive to work or medical appointments.

A house education subcommittee voted 3-2 on Tuesday to advance the bill to the full committee. Some parents feel the bill is just what the students need.

"I think that's a great idea. I think that school's a top priority and if students are not responsible and parents don't keep them responsible to go to school, then they shouldn't be on the roads driving," said one parent.

Republicans say the bill is to encourage students to stay in school and graduate. But democrats say it is not the government's job to discipline and train children.

In South Carolina, teens can get their beginners at age 15 and a regular license by 17.

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