Save Our Teen Drivers

Advocating for driver's education changes. Educating the public on the problem. Finding a solution that saves lives.

Indiana: new teen driving laws will be difficult to enforce

Posted by lapearce on July 4, 2009

I’m sure many of us already knew this. Police say that they don’t have the resources or manpower available to pull over every driver who looks like they are under 18 using a cell phone, or breaking one of the other new laws.

“We’re expecting voluntary compliance. We’re expecting parents to reinforce it with their young driver.”Sergent Dave Bursten of the Indiana State Police  said.

Now it isn’t that I don’t understand the concept, it’s just that I know it doesn’t work. Take speed limits for example. Enforcement on speeding is relatively high compared to other moving violations, in my opinion, and the penalties can be pretty steep: multiple points on your license, losing your license, hundreds of dollars in fines, etc. Many states have stricter penalties for teen drivers who are caught speeding, such as automatic license suspensions. And yet, teens still have the highest rate of speeding of any drivers on the road. They also still have more crashes because of speeding than any other group. No voluntary compliance here.

Then you need to consider the parents. In survey or parents Allstate conducted 60 percent of parents were completely unaware or only vaugely aware of graduated driving laws. Most of them also allowed their teens to take part in dangerous activities, such as driving with passengers or after dark. Parents don’t know the laws and they don’t know the risks, making it difficult to fall back on them for enforcement.
If the police don’t have the man power, the teens don’t have the self control, and the parents don’t have the knowledge, how does anyone expect any graduated driving law in any state to be very successful? Yes, there have been moderate reductions in crashes and deaths associated to these restrictions, so they aren’t completely pointless, but until the government figures out a way to enforce them, convince teens to follow them and inform parents of what the laws are then they will continue to only have moderate success.

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3 Responses to “Indiana: new teen driving laws will be difficult to enforce”

  1. I totally agree that voluntary compliance just does not work. Your use of speed limits is a great comparator. Unfortunately, almost everyone treats the speed limit as a suggestion, not a true limit. In the Phoenix area with photo radar installed on the freeways, it is a published fact that the devices aren’t triggered until the posted speed is exceeded by over 10mph. Just what kind of message does that send, and what do the parents of the teens do as they are driving? Why then would we expect the teens to comply with limitations on their driving?

    With respect to parent apathy, I posted my thoughts on the recent New Mexico tragedy at http://drivingmba.blogspot.com/. Parents have the same “it won’t happen to me/my child” that is at the core of the teen invincibility syndrome.

  2. […] effective will these laws be if Indiana lacks the man power to enforce the new graduated drivers education laws, and have trouble enforcing them even if they are looking? Sergent Dave Bursten of the Indiana […]

  3. […] effective will these laws be if Indiana lacks the man power to enforce the new graduated drivers education laws, and have trouble enforcing them even if they are looking? Sergent Dave Bursten of the Indiana […]

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