New drivers step on the gas to avoid restrictions

Teenagers throughout Connecticut are racing to get their driver's licenses before tougher restrictions take effect Aug. 1.

New restrictions for 16- and 17-year-old drivers who miss the cutoff include a driving curfew and a six-month ban on passengers, excluding instructors and parents. The curfew will forbid the new drivers from being on the road between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

David Schmidt-Fellner, 16, is one of the new drivers who made sure he took a driving test so he could be grandfathered in under the old laws.

"I really don't want an earlier curfew," Schmidt-Fellner says. "It's not as much fun ? and I don't want to wait a year to drive my friends around."

Owners of the HighRidge Driving School in Stamford, which isn't testing again until August, say there's a huge demand for would-be drivers desperately trying to get licensed under the expiring laws.

"Every day I get a phone call," says Ron Ochino. "It looks like right now, people are doing everything they can to get in under the wire."

To see driving instructors and young drivers talking about the new restrictions, go to Channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.

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