The Knesset Finance Committee approved a proposal Monday by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz for a graduated driver’s license. The new arrangement allows young drivers to get their license at age 16 years and nine months instead of 17 while extending the period during which they must drive accompanied an adult from three months to six months.

Katz noted that the period of accompanied driving has a very positive influence on the driver’s behavior. According to him, extending the period of accompanied driving to six months could decrease young people’s involvement in accidents.

“The data show,” said Katz, “that young people who drove without someone accompanying them have been involved in traffic accidents in far higher percentages than young people who have been through a period of being accompanied.”

According to data published by the Or Yarok Association for Safer Driving in Israel, young people in this country aged 17 to 24 are more involved in accidents than people in older age groups. The critical period is immediately after beginning to drive independently, at the end of the three months of accompanied driving required until now

The earliest age to start driving lessons will remain 16 and a half. The period of driving accompanied by an adult will have to cover at least 50 hours, 20 of them on urban streets, 15 hours on inter-urban roads and 15 hours of driving at night. The novice driver will have to have an adult chaperone at all hours of the day during the first three months but only at night during the second three months. After the novice driver and the accompanying person sign a declaration that the accompanied driving requirement has been fulfilled properly, the new driver will be given a young driver’s license.

The new system goes into effect on July 1.