Restrictive Road Regulations

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Restrictive Road Regulations

Dana Fouchia

Dana Fouchia

Dana Fouchia

Mercy Students carpool as an efficient way to get to school. Carpooling can save gas and money, yet it may be limited with this new driving law.

Dana Fouchia, Design Editor

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New teen driving laws are being implemented this year. Unless heading to work or any school affiliated activity, teens with a level 2 graduated license will no longer be permitted to drive past 10 p.m. and before 5 a.m.

This new law is set to take effect on March 30th. In addition to the time restrictions, no more than one non-family member under 21 will be allowed to ride with the driver, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian, or an adult 21 or over whom a parent or guardian has approved.

The law is being enacted in hopes of reducing teen-related accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that the crash rate per mile for 16 to 19 year-olds is four times higher than that of older drivers.

“I think it’s a good idea, I just don’t know if it’s an enforceable one” said former Driver’s Ed instructor Ron Sill.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Transportation Safety Board is implementing a few more laws cementing these four new driver components, including: a six-month holding period of one’s learner’s permit, behind-the-wheel training with a licensed adult during the learner’s permit stage, a passenger restriction limiting the number of teen passengers and a nighttime restriction that limits unsupervised driving.

“I think it is a good idea to make limitations for new drivers, but it leaves less time for a person to drive home safely,” said sophomore Maggie Malaney. “I think it’s going to lead to a lot of chaos and parents will end up driving places and using more gas than necessary with just one person. So while I think it was a nice try, they need to work on it.”

The new law is intended to reduce teen-related accidents by addressing two of the most prominent and dangerous situations teen drivers face: lack of experience with night driving and difficulty coping with distractions caused by passengers.

“I like to carpool with friends on the weekends and if I know I’ll be driving in an unsafe area I’d like to have someone with me,” said senior Colleen O’Malley. “If I’m going somewhere far away, it would only be safe to have someone in the car helping me with directions.”

The new laws are causing an uproar among some teens who fear that their freedom is being taken away.

“I don’t think it is fair for teenagers’ driving rights to be changed when some teenagers have already received those special privileges of driving past midnight and no legal number limit of people in the car,” said senior Caroline Powers.

Michigan had been one of only eight states with no restrictions. These new passenger restrictions make it the 43rd state to pass restrictions for teen drivers.

“I think it punishes responsible kids like myself,” said junior Veronica Battersby.

Although it has mixed reactions, many feel it can be beneficial. According to Mr. Sill, “It’s an important thing, a big step.”

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