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Thursday, May 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

DMV’s Teen Supervision Rule Isn’t Discriminatory

(CN) - The Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles did not intentionally discriminate against a 15-year-old driver by requiring the supervision of a parent, stepparent or guardian until she turned 16, the 10th Circuit ruled.

Julianna Barber obtained her driver's license when she was 15. Under state law, a driver under 16 can only drive under supervision.

Barber and her mother, Marcia, challenged the rule as discriminatory, because neither parent can drive. Marcia is blind, and Julianna's father doesn't have a driver's license and lives out of state.

The district court sided with the state, saying the Barbers failed to convince the court that the DMV intentionally or deliberately impeded a federally protected right.

The Denver-based appeals court affirmed. Judge Kelly, writing for a three-judge panel, noted that the DMV tried to fix the situation by discussing guardianship options and pursuing legislative amendment.

But even if the DMV had done nothing, the court ruled, the Barbers failed to show that the state would have been able to provide a reasonable accommodation.

"Marcia Barber's testimony that she would not have accepted a limited guardianship as a reasonable accommodation suggests that, even if the DMV had participated in the interactive process and offered her a limited guardianship, she would have refused the offer," Kelly noted.

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