Elmhurst Pub Roundtable

Where the beer is cold and the conversation loud...

Monday, March 27, 2006

Driving Age

I was all set to post my National League preview today, then something happened in Hopkinton over the weekend. There was a car accident in town where the 17 year old driver and her 10 year old brother. This has stirred up all the controversy over the current driving age again and that it should be raised. Since I have nowhere else to put these thoughts, I'm going to have to put them here and get crap for posting something too serious on this blog again. But to me this is something that continually irritates me - the way we try and legislate everything within the state and country.

That said, raising the driving age wouldn't have prevented this accident. When we all were learning to drive, you took the courses, we did the driving time and that was how it worked. For most of us it was around 16 and a half. Nothing wrong with that, nothing good about that really. But we all learned to drive after these lessons were over. The first time you go to change the station on the radio and slowly watch the car drift over to the side of the road. The first time the cell phone rings and we try and answer it. First time you try and pass a car on 495. That's when real driving and real learning occurred. Raising the driving age only makes you older. It doesn't give the necessary maturity being claimed by those in the legislature. In fact, raising the driving age to 17 and a half is more than a little odd. What's next then? Will you not be allowed to drive your friends till 18? It only escalates. In fact, parents want it both ways. Recently, a 17 year old was pulled over around 5am on his way to hockey practice because of the restrictions for junior operators. So they want exceptions made for this situation. The parents don't want to get up that early to do the driving, so make that exception. But don't allow the child to drive to the store, go out to a movie, or whatever else may be the case.

Even more than this, it seems more and more like our parents' generation is trying to restrict the rights of those growing up. It increasingly becomes apparent that these government, social, and other leaders are trying to wrap teenagers in bubble wrap to protect them from everything. That generation fought for so many rights and wanted so many privileges and now don't feel that the current generation can be afforded the same. It's all about driving more ridiculous claims. Put kids in school longer, test them more, keep them safer. While some of these changes are for the betterment of everyone, more often than not it seems they are to protect these leaders from themselves. It's really a shame and I hope that they legislature thinks long and hard before they raise the driving age in this state yet again.

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