Friday, August 15, 2008

The Need To Drive

Suspending a license is a tremendous punishment which severely limits the ability of many to function in society.

With young motorists losing their driver's licenses like never before under a tougher state law targeting teen speeders, state hearing officers are increasingly overwhelmed with desperate youths pleading to keep their licenses.

The emphasis of the article is how nasty and rude those bad teenagers get when their licenses are taken away. But being a teen in many places without a license really sucks. A bit later the article finally gets at the actual issue:

It is a message most people do not want to hear. "There's hostility in this office," said Brownell, "from children and adults." They complain about the new junior operator penalties. They contend that the $500 reinstatement fee is too stiff and the suspension harsh. Living without a license, especially in the suburbs, leaves youths stranded, said student James Dexter, 18, whose license has not been suspended.

"Kids have to work," said Dexter, who will be a senior at Danvers High School this fall. "It's just wrong. They should be able to do that. They should be able to give you a warning first."

I have no opinion about whether licenses should be suspended after one speeding ticket, but I do think more families should consider what it means to have their kids grow up in a place where their mobility is severely limited unless they have a license.