BOISE -- State senators have approved a bill aimed at preventing the U.S. Forest Service from closing some roads to all-terrain vehicles amid safety concerns over underage drivers.

The bill cleared the Idaho Senate on a 26-9 vote Tuesday. It requires underage drivers who use these forest roads to complete a state-approved safety course.

Forest Service officials are considering altering or closing some roads in Idaho for safety reasons, following a 2009 decision by state lawmakers that opened the roads to drivers younger than 16 who operate off-highway vehicles without a state-issued driver's license.

Republican Sen. John McGee, of Caldwell, says his bill would require underage drivers to take safety training as part of a compromise to fend off road closures and maintain public access. The legislation now goes to the House.

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