“Rising Death Rate for Teen Drivers Spurs legislation” is a headline in the WSJ dated 6/03/05. I quote, “Maryland, where 20 teenagers have died in accidents in the past 9 months, has just enacted 5 new laws aimed at the problem. One extends the learners permit period to 6 months from 4 and boosts the required time with adult supervisor to 60 hours from 40. For the first five months of the 18 month “provisional” driving period for teen drivers that follows the learner-permit period, a new law bars unsupervised drivers from carrying non family passengers. Another new law prohibits cell phones during the learner’s and provisional periods.
Colorado, Delaware, Georgia and Connecticut are among the states that in the past two years have added or strengthened passenger or nighttime driving restrictions for teenagers. Montana, Wyoming, and Hawaii have joined states with so-called graduating licensing—involving an intermediate driving period, often lasting 18 months, before a driver is fully licensed”.
I believe in August, 2005 Gov. Blagojevich signed legislation into law making it illegal for teens under 18 to talk on a cell phone while driving—even with a hands free device. How is the law working? I believe when the media gives us information about corrective happenings, they are obligated to follow through with results. Is the law being enforced? How many drivers have been arrested because of this law and how many in Peoria County? How many teen accidents have been attributed or partially attributed to the use of cell phones while driving? What good are laws if not enforced?
Some law enforcement agencies are saying, give us the money to enforce the laws. I answer this in two ways. Increase the fines and penalties to fund the enforcements. Demand that governmental bodies authorized to increase the fines and penalties do what it takes to convince people to obey the law. If our enforcers are sincere about mitigating the problem, they should make their case to money granting bodies outlining how stricter law enforcement, fines and cost distribution to those driving all costs upward and what benefits we can expect once everybody gets on the same page. This maybe too much to ask; especially getting everyone on the same page.
Again, I ask that we don’t reinvent the wheel every time we take action. I’M NOT INSUIATING THAT WE DO ALL THE TIME BUT WE DO TOO MANY TIMES. Find out what other communities are doing successfully. I’m weary of knee-jerk reactions in this community.
I quote from a letter written by Doyle Perry of Florissant, Mo. “Most accidents are linked to inattention or aggressive driving.” He is replying to an editorial in the WSJ on 7/10/06 saying that” speed is safer”. Mr. Perry asks, if so, why any speed limits at all? Judith Lee Stone, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, based in DC., disputes that greater safety does not result in a loss of liberty, rather-it provides freedom from harm. I agree.
I ask that Leitch, McCoy, Ardis and others that read these three blogs and tell us more how we can handle this actual terror resulting in tremendous costs to parents, kids and all the citizenry of our communities. Maybe they will post some comments.