This week, Governor Jack Dalrymple signed two bills improving traffic safety in North Dakota. One takes effect on August 1, making North Dakota the 31st state to ban texting by all drivers. The other strengthens the licensing process for teen drivers. Beginning January 1, 2012, the instruction permit period will be extended from six months to one year for drivers under the age of 16. Additionally, these young motorists will be required to complete 50 hours of behind-the-wheel driving in various conditions and situations, and may not drive unsupervised between sunset or 9 p.m. (whichever is later) and 5 a.m. with certain exceptions. Finally, anyone under 18 will be prohibited from using an electronic communication device while driving. The Century Council is proud to have supported this legislation with AAA and NTSB to promote teen driver safety. North Dakota still needs to implement a graduated driver licensing (GDL) program with an intermediate stage, but this is a positive step forward for the state. We thank the Legislative Assembly, particularly Representative George Keiser who sponsored the bill.