Our government has been doing all that it could to increase its involvement in our lives. A growing number of people feel that government is growing at an alarming rate and America is much less the land of the free that it once was. For example, governments at every level continue to write laws that just confuse the people they affect. Are the laws being written to protect people, or just confuse people in order to ensure income for governments enforcing those laws? The answer is both. While the laws are meant to protect people, it is nearly impossible for people to remember and understand all of the laws that affect them; thus ensuring enforcement of those laws will mean additional income. Graduated teen driving laws continue to grow nationwide. Indiana’s new teen driving law restricts people under the age of 18 from using cell phones and other communication devices while driving, except in cases of 911 emergencies. In addition, people under 18 may not drive between 10 PM and 5 AM for the first 6 months. After the first 6 months, people under 18 may not drive between 11 PM and 5 AM Sunday through Thursday and 1 AM to 5 AM on Friday and Saturday, unless travelling between work, school, or religious events, or if accompanied by a licensed driver 25 or older.
This is just one more example of legislatures writing laws that are redundant. Instead of enforcing laws on the books, we find reasons to write new laws. Am I the only one who sees this as a waste of taxpayer money and resources? Indiana has curfew laws on the books that will make new Indiana graduated teen driving laws redundant and unnecessary. According to IC 31-37-3-2: "It is a curfew violation for a child fifteen (15), sixteen (16), or seventeen (17) years of age to be in a public place: between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday; after 11 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday; or before 5 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday."
Given this information, it may be easier to simply give all new licensed drivers under the age of 18 probationary licenses for the first six months and enforce the curfew laws, and simply write a law concerning the use of mobile communication devices while driving. In addition, by enforcing curfew laws, the state may cut down on crime.
What about driving laws for drivers in other age categories? If governments attempted to institute similar laws to drivers in other age categories, for example 65 and older, it would be considered discrimination. So why is the under 18 group any different. It is not that people under 18 are immature and inexperienced and need additional restrictions to keep other people safe on the road. It can be argued that people older than 65 should be restricted from driving because of their age, or any other reason. The fact is, younger drivers need to do more to just obtain the license than people did merely a decade ago. If that was the case, similar laws would be written for all inexperienced drivers, not just those under 18.
The trouble with the teen licensing laws is that the statistics used in writing the laws only compare teen drivers with national teen driving statistics. For example, teen drivers are compared with other teen drivers, instead of comparing teen drivers with drivers between 18 and 25, or drivers between 25 and 65, for example. In order to make these fair comparisons and to truly show how age and experience affects drivers, true statistical comparisons between varying age groups need to be made.
New Indiana Teen Driving Laws
National Teen Driving Stats
Indiana statutes of interest