Over in Places Where People Drive Cars, there is a growing trend of states restricting teenage drivers to no end. The new requirements include special badges, extended curfews, restrictions on the types of passengers (if any are allowed), requirements that parents take driver education courses too… And then every time some kid dies in an auto accident, the rules are toughened, as if that was at all logical.
First of all, the culprits here are AAA and the auto insurance companies. These restrictions are not just voter-popular initiatives, they are backed by big, aggressive lobbying money. It has always been the case that insurance companies saw extra liabilities in covering teenage drivers (mostly for non-fatal collisions) for which it couldn’t raise premiums high enough to cover (at a profit, natch). So, they are having the states do their dirty work.
Second, the fact that each one of these liberty-restricting laws is accompanied by some horror story when proposed indicates that legislators are not willing to conduct this debate on level ground. Most of these restrictions were non-existent 15 years ago, and virtually everyone lived through it. (Yes, there were sad exceptions.)
Third, shitty driving is an equal-opportunity crime across ages, which is the lame fact they won’t tell you. Bump up all these restrictions and you’ll just delay the accidents that are inherent to inexperienced drivers. Next thing you know, the driving age will be 25, as they ominously suggest in the article.
Fourth, nothing about the problem at hand can’t be solved with regular enforcement of traffic rules. The problem is that law enforcement organizations across the entire country have decided, collectively, that won’t happen.
Fifth, when states enact these laws, they do nothing to compensate for the lost mobility for the teenagers. The effect is that you have millions of people in America who, temporarily but increasingly, have the same ability to maneuver in society as a paraplegic, thanks to urban sprawl and starved mass-transit programs. This is inhumane, punitive behavior against a class of society that politicians are not afraid to disenfranchise gratuitously. Politicians instead enjoy political gains among their irrational judgmental geriatric constituents. “Get those kids off the road! And off my lawn!” they say while shaking their walking canes. Indeed. And then we provide free ADA-compliant transport service for each of those elderly folks. The kids? Locked in the house all day every day. No wonder they’re all Internet creepers lately.