Here’s a slightly annoying Chicago Tribune editorial about changes in the rules for teenage drivers here in Illinois. Basically, they’ve increased the restrictions teenagers face. The new rules include:
– Night restrictions for drivers younger than 18 are moved back an hour.
– Passenger limits on 16- and 17-year-old drivers are extended from six months to one year.
These rules would have driven me nuts as a teenager. I used to love to drive around with my friends at night. These rules would have ruined some of the most enjoyable evenings of my teenage years.
I don’t know, these changes may be a good idea, but I get suspicious when people start changing the rules once they no longer apply to themselves. Every lawmaker involved with this is probably old enough to have survived a time when driving rules for beginners were much more lenient. Now that their driving privileges are secure, they’re changing the rules.
Some teens may not like these new limits. Some of their parents may also find them a nuisance at times. But White has an answer for that. “They may not like me now,” he said. “They may not like the legislation, but when they reach the age of 21 and are alive and well, I think they’ll love Jesse White and the members of the General Assembly for our initiative.”
That’s just insane. Even if the new rules are terrific, nobody will say anything like that. When was the last time you heard a 21-year-old who was thankful that he handn’t been allowed to drink when he was 18? People are rarely happy to have their freedom restricted, even when it really is a good idea.
When it comes to teens behind the wheel, there’s no such thing as too safe.
This sort of sentiment is quite popular, but obviously wrong. Even the people behind these rule changes don’t really believe it. If they did, they would have made the rules even stricter. After all, how many teenage lives would be saved if we moved up the night restrictions yet another hour? How many lives would be saved if we made teenagers wait yet another year to get learner’s permits? How about if we require them to be 18 years old to get a permit and 21 to get a solo driver’s license? How many lives would we save then?
Clearly we draw the line somewhere, just as we do for every other dangerous human endeavor.