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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Michigan imposes state driving laws on our "learners"

Is the new Michigan teenager driver curfew an example of the State doing the parents' job or is it sound public policy regarding what are largely public roads and state highways (never mind the Interstate).

Starting tomorrow
thousands of teenagers statewide who have a Level 2 intermediate license face new driving restrictions.

They won't be able to have more than one teenage friend as a car passenger unless they are going to or from a school event, and they can't drive past 10 p.m., unless accompanied by a guardian or driving to or from work. Currently, they can drive until midnight.
I understand that this is presumably on the good faith good will public interest basis of public safety.
Sen. Rick Jones, a Grand Ledge Republican, said he supported the bill last year as a state representative because he saw too many fatal accidents involving teenagers while serving as Eaton County sheriff.

"We think this is reasonable," Jones said. "When a young person is driving alone or driving with siblings, they are responsible, but then they get a car full of teens, there are way too many distractions."
I presume also that insurance companies and their lobbyists are proponents of increased restrictions on young drivers because of an increase in premiums, pay-outs, accidents.

On the other hand I can envision a standard party of four in one vehicle suddenly needing two vehicles with teenage drivers to get someplace. I also envision idiot kids driving at unsafe speeds at 9:55 PM desperately to get in under the 10 PM government curfew.

This is another example of the state creating laws treating symptoms of societal problems when the core problem is going unresolved, and probably worsening over time. Our kids are actually getting less mature in comparison to juveniles of the same age two or three generations ago. There are people that say that teenagers' brains are biologically less capable of reason, logic, or judgment and that the laws should anticipate that. I am unconvinced that we should lower our expectations to accommodate that shortcoming.

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