Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Teen Driving Restrictions

On one hand I'm not a tremendous fan of teen driving, but on the other hand they just live in the world we created for them which in most cases means an expectation that they will be able to drive. I think parents probably don't think enough about the costs of suburban and exurban location decisions - additional cars and/or much time spent being chauffeurs, the social isolation - for their teenage children, but such decisions are usually made when children are younger and the appeal of the suburbs is stronger.

There's also the class issue, difficulty in getting someone to rack up those hours with you, though I don't know what the enforcement mechanism is for such things.

So, HB67 would require 65 hours of driving experience for teens seeking a license, including at least 10 hours of nighttime driving and five hours of driving in inclement weather. It also would forbid junior drivers to have more than one passenger under age 18 in the car (exceptions are proposed for family members).

In states where restrictions like these exist, teen-caused crash fatalities and injuries have plunged.

In other words, the laws protect teens from themselves - and the rest of us from them.

"If we'd known [about the statistics on teen driving], I believe things would've turned out differently for Lacey," Denise said yesterday, her voice heavy with regret as she watched over the toddlers she baby-sits in her home day-care. "We would've made different decisions."