Drivers of all ages take caution


Lately, a lot of people have been talking about the new teen driving laws that start after August 1. The first time I heard about them was a few weeks ago. The subject was brought up during school — “Some new stupid law” is being enacted that tells us when we are allowed to drive, and who we are allowed to drive with. The general reaction was, well, not happy, to say the least. No one really knew any details at the time, but there were lots of different opinions being tossed around.

I read the news release about the new laws in last Sunday’s newspaper. Actually, my mom came up to me, read it to me and said, “So what do you think about that?”


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I didn’t really know what to say. To be completely honest, I was a little ticked about the passenger rule. Has anyone looked at gas prices lately? Realistically, for a teenager, the biggest expenditure is most likely gas. No one wants to have to drive places all the time because it’s so expensive. For my friends and I the solution has been car-pooling. When we can only have one passenger in the car at a time, it really cuts back on the car-pooling solution.

I was also upset about the no driving between midnight and 5 a.m. law. The law was made because nighttime driving is dangerous for teens, but why is it dangerous? My mom always tells me that she’s not worried about me as a driver, she is worried about the other drivers out on the road. I’m guessing that the majority of drivers on the road during those hours are adults, and I’m going to go even further out on a limb and say they are either heading out to the bar or heading home from the bar. It really bothers me that laws are being put in place to regulate teen driving when adult driving can be just as reckless.

I saw some of my girlfriends last night; there was all the usual ‘girl talk,’ and then someone brought up the new driving laws. Once again, the general reaction was not happy. The topic was argued about and the details were cross examined — “I heard this, no I heard this.” You get the idea. I think in general most of the girls were mad about the no driving between midnight and 5 a.m.

On my way home I couldn’t stop thinking about the new laws. Two of my friends needed rides, and their houses were on my way so I volunteered to bring them both home. After I dropped them off I realized that me helping my friends out, in this case, would’ve been breaking the law. The more I thought about it the more angry I got.

Then I realized it’s not necessarily the regulations that the laws require, it’s the plain simple fact that there are laws at all. Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure most teenagers hate being told exactly what to do and when to do it. Maybe that’s stereotypical, but I think that’s why I got so worked up about it.

What my question is, is “When did it become the government’s job to tell us when we can and can’t drive our cars? Isn’t it our parents’ responsibility to be telling us when to come home each night?”

I know that the laws were made for our safety, but at the same time I feel that they take it a little too far.

Reckless driving is constantly blamed on teens, but I know that adults in this town can be reckless too. I was hit by a car last week, and it wasn’t my fault. The other driver was an adult and I’m sure he had lots of driving experience, yet he still smashed into the driver’s side of my car when I had the right of way. Everyone makes mistakes when driving; we all get a little too confident that we won’t get pulled over, or that nothing bad will happen to us.

All I ask is that all people, of all ages, start to drive with a little more caution and consideration, because not all accidents are to be blamed on teenagers. Take time to slow down, and think about what you’re doing. A little consideration on all our parts will lower the accident rate a lot faster than a few laws.

By Breanna Walker
Grand Rapids Herald-Review Intern
Published: Saturday, June 14, 2008 3:06 PM CDT

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