Targetting Drivers Based On Age

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by DamnYankee, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. DamnYankee
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    DamnYankee No Neg Policy

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    Our local paper ran a column today regarding new limits on "provisional" licenses, the majority of which are issued to teens. The column, along with my letter to the writer, follows.

    Riled by new limits on teens? Get over it
    Friday, April 17, 2009
    Last updated: Friday April 17, 2009, 9:04 AM
    By JOHN CICHOWSKI
    ROAD WARRIOR COLUMNIST

    With Governor Corzine signing teen driving restrictions into law at a Morris County high school, Wednesday turned into a great day in the annals of driver improvement — except for this road warrior.

    Since my car was in the shop, I found myself operating a rented Ford Expedition that seemed to stretch for four city blocks. Falling out of this brown monster in The Record parking lot didn't hurt as much as forgetting where I parked it. (Of course, I was looking for my little gray Honda.)

    As I learned long ago, the things we do best are things we do frequently. A few hours later, I was doing one of the things I'd never done before: Searching for my car at the sprawling West Morris High School parking lot in Washington Township. (I had missed the last shuttle bus.) Thank God for the bright young senior who led me out of this wilderness. Since she was obviously a much more able navigator than I, her comment caught me off guard.

    "As an 18-year-old driver, I don't see why I have to be treated like a kid."

    She was referring, of course, to the two revisions of the Graduated Driver License laws that the governor had just signed into law.

    Kyleigh's Law, named for a West Morris teen killed in a 2006 crash, makes New Jersey the first state to require probationary drivers to stick Velcro identifiers on their license plates to make it easier for police to spot GDL violators. The second law bans these drivers from the road after 11 p.m., an hour earlier than the current curfew.

    Please Follow Copyright Guidelines

    Bureaucracy. Details must be worked out. Vendors who will provide the identifiers must be qualified — a lengthy process under state law. Decal sales will likely be made at convenience stores, not state Motor Vehicle Commission offices. Because all the bills are considered part of an interlocking package, all must take effect at the same time — probably in May or June 2010.

    By that time, my parking lot chaperone will be pushing 20, probably with more than 1,000 hours of driving under her belt, and I'll be ready to trade in the Honda for something simple. As I learned — again — on Wednesday: One of the easiest times to make mistakes is during the trial period of any new endeavor. The lesson became ever-clearer after I'd dropped off the Ford Expedition with Danny, the 20-something at the rental office.

    By the time I got home, Danny was ringing my phone.

    "Can you stop back here? You left your Bluetooth in the car."

    NorthJersey.com: Riled by new limits on teens? Get over it



    cichowski@northjersey.com

    As the spouse of a professional driving instructor, with over 30 years of experience at his trade, and having had the privilege of being the mom of three teen drivers, I have no "beef" with limitations on them. As in any educational environment, however, it is a shared responsibility. Finally, there is some acknowledgement that there must be parental involvement in the learning of driving.

    I do take exception with your "case" which states "A total of 37 teen drivers and 23 teen passengers were killed in New Jersey last year." What you didn't mention was that, according to State DOT and State Police data, located online, 597 people died on Garden State roads, the result of 562 fatal crashes, in 2008. That means that teens were just about 10% of the total persons killed in motor vehicle accidents last year. Should we research what age groups made up the other 90%?

    Please, don't misunderstand. I'm of the opinion that each and every licensed driver should be subject to re-testing within a subscribed period of time. After all, most tend to become lax about their habits, and many ignore their failing eyesight as they reach middle age, not to mention the many who don't want to lose their independence as they've already become "golden". Let's make the focus on driving rather than who is driving.
     
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  2. xotoxi
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    xotoxi Platinum Member

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    Driving is a privilege, not a right. As far as I see it, new drivers need to practice and earn the privilege of driving.

    I think that laws should be far more strict as to who should be allowed a license. DWI should be automatic permanent loss of license privileges. There should be mandatory drivers tests every three year for all drivers older than 65, every two years for older than 75, and yearly over 85.

    Unless there is a constitutional amendment for the "right to drive cars", then this is the way it should be.
     
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  3. DamnYankee
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    DamnYankee No Neg Policy

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    Looks is if we're pretty much on the same page. The purpose of the provisional license is to gain the practice time and earn the full privilege, while certain restrictions are imposed. Of course, it would be more sensible to mandate more that more than 6 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction is required (the minimum to obtain a certificate from a commercial driving school for insurance rate reduction purposes).

    I'm not even going to start a rant on loss of licenses, and the number who then drive unlicensed. Then there is the mandatory insurance and the insurance for uninsured motorists. Gotta love it. Another story for another day....
     
  4. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    DWY (Driving While Young) IS a crime in most juridictions.

    And the fact that young people often drive like idiots doesn't help either.
     
  5. Zoom-boing
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    Zoom-boing Gold Member

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    My dad taught us all to drive. His requirement? We had to be 17, not 16, and had to put 1,000 miles on the car with the final 'test' being driving down the (Jersey) shore from PA. That means the Schuykill River Drive. :eek: I never understood parents who let a driving school handle all the teaching. Both should be offered and parents should get in the car (griping the handle for fear of their life) and teach.

    My oldest turned 16 in July 2006. She wasn't allowed to get her permit till the following spring. She put it off (sheer laziness in part) until the end of the fall and didn't get her license until she was nearly 17. Fine by me. My youngest will be 17 before she gets her license . . . unless she doesn't stop with the attitude. Otherwise, she'll be taking a bus!

    As for the parents attending the classes with their kids? Great idea! I can't tell you how 'lax' becomes 'the norm' after driving for 30 years. Did you know that 'stop optionals' aren't? My 18 year old reminds me of this. :D

    :clap2: :clap2: :clap2: I'd change the mandatory tests to 65, 70 and 75 though. Nice post.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2009
  6. foggedinn
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    foggedinn VIP Member

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    Y'all count your blessings. I live in Mississippi. When I moved here over thirty years ago, the full priviledge driving age was fourteen. It has gradually increased to sixteen as long as the driver stays in school. Dropouts don't get full priviledge till eighteen.
     
  7. DamnYankee
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    DamnYankee No Neg Policy

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    Received a response from the columnist, known as The Road Warrior (he writes on various road/traffic concerns), which I've replied to. We have corresponded a few times previously -- most notably on the issue of gasoline taxes. It will be interesting to see how long this dialogue continues.

    FROM The Road Warrior:
    The state police data I have says 591 deaths for 2008, but the important factor is the increase. Teen deaths are rising while the rest of the fatality rate is declining.

    The second factor is a more practical one: Doing something about it in a democracy. Yes, there are other fatality issues to focus on, but there is little public appetite for clearing the roads of the elderly. Even the medical community is divided on this issue. Getting a majority of the Legislature to go along with this sort of reform is unlikely. Unlike the teen driving issue, you can’t even raise the specter of a novice or apprentice license. Nor is there a regular institutional forum, like driver-education classes, that can be improved. And finally, with kids, you have parental control at 16 or 17. That’s not the case with seniors.

    Then there is the pedestrian fatality rate which is rising. The same applies to motorcycle deaths.

    Bottom line: There are many, many appropriate, obvious reforms that can and should be put in place, but there must be public will to do them. (After all, it took 90 years to abolish slavery and another 100 years to ensure some sort of basic equality among the races.) None of this happens in a political vacuum. As you surely know, it takes leadership to change public perceptions and push through safety reforms, but good leaders generally build consensus by focusing on one issue at a time. Actually, it’s something of an art. It takes more than statistics.

    But if teen fatalities can be curbed, lessons can be learned in how to approach these other killer issues.

    Thanks for reading The Road Warrior.


    REPLY:
    I absolutely was not advocating targetting seniors as a means to clear the roads, though there is also sufficient data to suggest that they be routinely retested, rather than wait for them to be caught committing an infraction or worse. The problem I have with that is the selection of an arbitrary age, which none who have gone this route seem to agree on, to begin the process. No one person is the same, either physically or mentally or emotionally -- all of which are factors in how they perform, whether it's operating a motor vehicle or any other of life's "job" responsibilities. Sans testing, I would say that this is a much a medical professional control issue as teen driving is a parental control issue, but they don't seem willing to step up to the plate.

    Our neighbor, NY, has some semblance of an "apprentice" license.


    PROBATION PERIOD FOR ALL OTHER NEW LICENSED DRIVERS

    If you are age 18 or older when you pass your road test for a driver license, or obtain a license following revocation, you will be on probation for six months.

    If you are convicted of speeding, reckless driving, following too closely, participating in a speed contest, or two other traffic violations while on probation, your license will be suspended for 60 days. If you are found guilty of committing one of the above violations, or two other moving violations during this second probation period, your license will be revoked for at least six months. When the revocation or suspension ends, you will be on probation for another six months.

    ALCOHOL AND OTHER DRUG VIOLATIONS FOR DRIVERS UNDER 21

    If you are under age 21 when arrested, your permit, license, or driving privileges will be revoked for at least one year if you are convicted of any alcohol- or drug-related driving violation, or if there is a judge's finding that you refused to submit to a chemical test (including a test under the state's "Zero Tolerance Law". Even if you complete an approved Drinking Driver Program in fewer days, your revocation will continue until the end of the scheduled period of revocation. A second violation or judge's finding within five years requires revocation for one year or until you turn age 21, whichever is longer. These penalties apply even if you are adjudicated as a youthful offender, or if you were arrested or convicted out of state.
    NYS DMV - (Brochure) Learner Permits and Junior Licenses

    Looks as if their democracy recognized that a new driver is new, and that 20 isn't necessarily a magic age of maturity. That said, NJ has finally toughened the DWI laws and enforcement, yet in 2006, 285 traffic fatalities were alcohol related, with 224 having a BAC of 0.08 or more. That's a rather large chunk of the total deaths, wouldn't you say? It would be even more interesting if there was a breakdown by age categories. Have the leaders been successful in curbing this killer issue? I'm not sure.

    Perhaps if the leaders focused their attention on the obviously lacking education (the institutional forum), which is, by the way offered to teens, albeit by non-professionals (in their high school classroom setting) and made that a priority and a requirement, there would not be a need to attend to regulating behavior.
     
  8. code1211
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    code1211 Senior Member

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    This is discriminatory. If there are to be mandatory tests, let them be triggered by violations, not age. I have been as annoyed as anyone by the old guy with hat and sunglasses, terrified, white knuckled, weaving down the road in his 20 year old Oldsmobile, but the same occurs with the 30 year old woman applying make up while dabbing the goo from baby's chin behing the whell of her caravan.

    Do you also wish to "ground" new mothers?

    How about the homone impaired, first date driver trying to impress Betty Sue?

    There are adequate stats to ground almost any age group that you might care to villify. It's actions, not age, that should be the identifier.
     
  9. DiamondDave
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    DiamondDave Army Vet

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    Discriminatory :rolleyes:

    No.. realistic.. young drivers are quite literally not as experienced and by nature more reckless

    I agree with this as I agree with added testing of people's driving ability ABOVE a set elderly age as well

    Oh... and if someone is caught putting on makeup or whatever.. they do get cited
     
  10. alan1
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    alan1 USMB Mod Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That would be age discrimination.
    When a teen takes their first driving test, they should take that test with at least 2 other teens in the car, while eating a fast food hamburger and playing with the radio, because that's exactly the conditions they will be driving under.
     

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