(AP)- A prized rite of passage for 16-year-olds - getting a driver's license - would come with additional restrictions under a bill making gains at the Capitol.
By a 30-25 vote Tuesday, the Senate gave preliminary approval to legislation limiting the number of passengers young drivers can have with them and the hours of the day they can drive. A final Senate vote will come as early as Thursday. The House has yet to weigh in.
Minnesota has a graduated system of issuing licenses to teens, starting 16-year-olds with a provisional license. Full licenses aren't granted until age 18.
The bill sponsored by Sen. Tom Neuville, R-Northfield, would prohibit drivers with provisional licenses from carrying more than one passenger under 20 years old for the first six months. During the second six months, they could have up to three. Both limits would be waived when young members of the new driver's immediate family are riding along.
The newest provisionally licensed drivers would have to keep their cars parked between midnight and 5 a.m. unless they are going to work or school or have a person older than 25 with them.
The goal, Neuville said, is to "reduce some of the risks, reduce some of the injury and reduce some of the damage."
He added, "During that first year of driving our 16 year olds are typically at greater risk of making mistakes. We're going to make a transition period."
Opponents said the bill is too intrusive and such decisions should be left to parents.
"It's my choice to determine how many kids are in that car," said Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, who confessed that her 16-year-old has had four fender benders since November.
Neuville's bill wouldn't be the first to restrict privileges of young drivers. State law already prohibits holders of provisional licenses from using a cell phone while a car is in motion.