Save Our Teen Drivers

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

Posts Tagged ‘teen driving death’

Will New Jersey’s New Teen Driving Law Make a Difference?

Posted by lapearce on March 27, 2010

An example of the New Jersey new driver sticker

New Jersey’s Kyleigh’s Law is no doubt controversial. A lawsuit arguing that the law was unconstitutional was just thrown out, paving the law for the law that would require drivers under the age of 21 to have a decal on their license plate to identify themselves as having provisional licenses. So will this only cause new drivers problem by identifying them without actually leading to saved lives? Will teens just take the stickers off leaving them pointless? Or will they actually make a difference? 

A lot of states have provisional licenses that put certain restrictions on teen drivers that regular drivers don’t have. However, these laws are difficult to enforce. It is difficult for a police officer to look at a driver for a few seconds as they pass by and ascertain if they are young enough to have a provisional license and if they are breaking a provisional law. Because of that, a lot of police just don’t enforce provisional laws unless the driver is breaking another law at the same time. In an article about a recent change to Indiana provisional laws the police said that they see the laws more as a deterrent and hope that people just follow the laws. 

Even though a lot of states see provisional laws as being secondary offenses that they can add onto a ticket after pulling a teen over for braking another law, or just expect teens to voluntarily comply with the laws, believe it or not, these laws do work. Provisional licences actually reduce crashes by 19%. For every teen that ignores the laws, there are a handful more that follow at least some of the laws some of the time, which helps keep deaths down. The fear a lot of teen have about being pulled over and punished by their parents also does have an impact on how teens drive. They don’t want to get caught doing something they aren’t supposed to do  by a police officer, and many don’t want to risk losing their license in the process.

This is why I think that Kyleigh’s Law will make a difference in New Jersey. New Jersey already has some of the nation’s toughest teen driving laws. It is also ranked one of the best states to be a new driver because of its tough stance on new drivers. People who argue that it is unconstitutional by “unfairly” singling out teens are really missing the point here. Driving is a privilege, not a right. And if it is unconstitutional to put a sticker on a teen’s car it should be unconstitutional to restrict any drivers in any way. The one thing I don’t like about this law is that it’s just another example of states looking at legislation instead of education to solve the teen driving problem. If we just taught our new drivers how to drive we wouldn’t need half the laws we have restricting them. But we’ve chosen the legislative route to saving lives and it is just so unfortunate. The roads would be a safer place if all of the proceeds from the sale of these stickers went to in-car drivers training. All fines for all teen driving law infractions should go to this to help stop the problem before it ends in the death of a teen like Kyleigh and a demand for yet another law.

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Remembering those killed on the road

Posted by lapearce on June 15, 2009

Neighbors tie ribbon around tree to honor three children killed in a crash in 2007

Neighbors tie ribbon around tree to honor three children killed in a crash in 2007

Yesterday was the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. It may not have made it on your calendar, but when you figure that more Americans die every year in car crashes than Americans were killed in the Korean War it is apparent that this is a problem that needs to be remembered, but more importantly, needs to be addressed.

The above link says about this memorial:

We are all vulnerable, but some are more vulnerable than others

Remember the deaths we forget

More than malaria

A tsunami every three months

A 9/11 every day

The leading killer of the young and the healthy

The leading killer of the young and the healthy. And yet, it is a problem that we seem to want to forget, or are ignorant to the fact that it even exists. This day of remembrance comes in the middle of the most deadly time for teen drivers. Thousands of teens have already died this year, and thousands more will give their lives before the year is over. As the year comes to an end, we will have lost more young lives to car crashes than we’ve lost in the entire Iraq War.

So why aren’t people on our street corners with signs to save teen drivers? Why aren’t we demanding change in the realms of driver’s education. We know what the solution is: better laws, parental involvement and better driver’s training. So why aren’t we outraged that not enough is being done to solve this problem. I am not trying to minimize those lost in the Iraq War, but aren’t these young people also dying in vein?

The point of remembering those who are lost, in my opinion, is to carry on their legacy and to not allow history to repeat itself. If we forget why something horrible happens, we run the risk of having it happen again. In justifying the Holocaust, Hilter reportedly said, “For who remembers the Armenians?” As a society, we are choosing to forget the epidemic that is killing our teens in this nation.

It’s time for us to stand up and to demand that something be done to address the number one killer of teens. Laws need to be changed, parents need to be involved in the process, and teens need better in-car training to better prepare themselves for the dangers on the road. Hopefully, one day in the future, car crashes will no longer be the number one killer of our young and our healthy.

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