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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

No Pass - No Drive Law

Steve Franzen. 
By Campbell County Attorney, Steve Franzen 

In 2007, the Kentucky Legislature passed “The No Pass/No Drive” law requiring sixteen (16) and seventeen (17) year old students to meet sufficient academic and attendance standards to maintain their driver’s license or learners permits. Any family that has had a teenager recently apply for a first time learners permit has seen this requirement because a school compliance verification form must be completed by the school before the permit is issued.

A student is deemed to be non-compliant and to have his or her license or permit revoked if either they have had nine or more unexcused absences, including suspensions, during a semester or not passing at least 66% of his or her classes.

All schools must report non-compliance of any and all students each semester.  The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet then will notify the student by mail that his license to drive a car has been revoked.  The student can request a hearing in District Court to attempt to get his license reinstated for good cause shown, such as that the student did not drop out, is not academically deficient, or that a family hardship situation exists where the license is absolutely necessary.  If a student re-enrolls in school, he may apply to have his driver’s license reinstated at the end of the semester during which he re-enrolls.  The purpose of the license suspension provisions is to discourage kids from dropping out of school.  Many students do not drop out of school because of the fear of losing their license or decide to re-enroll in school and/or attend school regularly in order to get their license back after a suspension.

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This law has also survived challenges to its constitutionality under the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause and Due Process clause.  In reviewing the law, the Court of Appeals found that driving a car was a legitimately regulated privilege and not a fundamental right of the student.  The court reasoned that the law was appropriate legislation concerning a legitimate state interest of trying to keep sixteen (16) and seventeen (17) year old students in school with passing grades.

If you have any topics you would like to have covered in this column, please contact my office by e-mail at, by phone at 491-7700 or by regular mail addressed to 319 York Street, Newport, Kentucky 41071.

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