So incase anyone stumbles upon this, behold the magic of Youtube!
- Current Mood: accomplished
In late 2006, a 16 year old girl named Kyleigh D'Alessio died in a car accident where the car was driven by a 17 year old with a probationary license who lost control of the car and crashed into a tree (he, Tanner Birch was also killed) and there were two other teenagers in the car. Under NJ driving laws, if you're under 21 and have your provisional license (which mostly only 17-18 year olds have), you are only allowed to drive with household members and one additional member. They did not abide by that law, got into a car accident that was fatal for two people and then the mother of Kyleigh decides that every person between the ages of 17 and 21 is an irresponsible idiot who has the attention span of a fly who can't drive safely with more than person who isn't an adult because that would be too much of a distraction and pushes for a law, claiming that an obnoxious orange decal would save teens lives. Kyleigh's law will do nothing to protect safety, and is in fact dangerous.
The new law mandates that:
- To get a learner's permit, instead of the current 6 hours of driving lessons, 16 year olds will have to take 60 hours of lessons, 50 during the say and 10 at night.
- Curfew for those under 21 changed from midnight to 11 PM
- Those under 21 cannot have more than one passenger unless accompanied by a parent or guardian
- Bans use of even handsfree cell phones for those under 21
- Requires drivers under 21 to have an orange decal on their cars, signifying they are a teen driver
Why this law is ridiculous:
- The increased driving lessons aren't that bad of an idea, but 60 hours is unreasonable. Teens have to juggle a lot-- school, homework, various afterschool activities, sometimes extra classes after normal school hours, community service, possibly religious duties (like Church)... There's simply not enough time in the day to get everything done and since every teen wants to drive as soon as possible, it's most likely that when they find a way to fit driving lessons in, they'll have to stay up even later to do homework, get even less sleep (and most teenagers are sleep deprived as it is), which is more dangerous for driving. Plus, 10 times the lessons means 10 times the cost. Just 6 hours of driving lessons costs hundreds of dollars (about $350), going to 60 will cost THOUSANDS (about $3500). That's almost as much as my high school tuiton. And in this economy, no one can afford to spend more than they have to. Besides, it's not as if those 6 hours of lessons are the only time a teen drives before getting a license-- they're supposed to teach you the basics on how to drive allow you to get a learner's permit so that you learn how to drive and you have to have it for at least 6 months plus be 17 before getting a license. Most kids start their lessons to get their permits as soon as they can and have them for closer to a year before getting their license. During those 6 months- 1 year, it's the parents responsibility to teach their kid how to be a good driver, they shouldn't have to pay a ridiculous amount of money to have somebody do that for them.
- An 11 PM curfew is reasonable for 17 year olds, but for 18-21 year olds is too strict. Most people 17 and older have jobs (hopefully, in this economy). Employers love it when employees become 18 because that means since they are no longer minors, they can work later hours. A lot of the time, those hours are around or past 11 PM. Meaning, they can be pulled over for driving home from work past curfew. I've heard that you'd be fine if you had a note or something verifying that you were driving home from work, but still...20 years old and needing a note to drive home from work? Ridiculous.
- This one I don't get at all. Supporters of this law claim that the more passengers there are with a teen driver, the greater risk there is of an accident because supposedly passengers are too much of a distraction for teenagers to handle... But if that's the case, then why is it instead of allowing them to drive a couple friends home, they need a third passenger with them? Wouldn't that increase the risk of an accident further? Some sources I went to said that to drive more than one person, the teen driver needed to be accompanied by an adult, other sources said it had to be a parent or guardian. Either case, it's ridiculous. Is there a magical age where you cease to be an obnoxious distraction? I don't think so. Wouldn't this be dangerous for certain teens who are unfortunate enough to have overly paranoid parents? Because having a parent screaming, "BRAKE! DON'T YOU SEE THAT RED LIGHT 400 FEET AWAY? BRAKE!" when you're only going 25 MPH seems a heck of a lot more distracting than a couple of people talking about their plans for the weekend. It's bad enough having to deal with that when you have your permit and your parent is just struggling getting used to you driving, but being 20 years old and needing a mommy or daddy who can't resist backseat driving to drive a couple friends around the corner doesn't make sense. But it does make me wonder why Kyleigh's mom just didn't let her daughter get into a car with multiple passengers and if she really thinks that if there were one less person in the car the driver wouldn't have lost control. Doesn't seem plausible to me. If you truly lose control over the car, that will happen regardless over how many people are in the car with you or how old they are. If passengers are the problem-- don't give a ride to obnoxious people that would distract you. Simple as that. And this leaves only two conclusions that can be drawn from Kyleigh's fatal accident: either it was truly an accident with no one to blame (meaning that teenagers all over the state should not be punished for it) or it was the fault of the passengers (which would include Kyleigh) for distracting the driver (and if that's the case, they deserved the consequences, and still, not all teens should be punished for it).
- This one I actually somewhat agree with. I've never understood why cell phones were banned but hands-free ones were okay when it's never the phone that's a distraction, but it's peoples minds being on the conversation instead of the road. The only thing about this one I find ridiculous is that lawmakers seem to think that it's only people under 21 who can possibly be distracted by a conversation over the phone. What's next, they'll set an age restriction on listening to the radio?
- This one I absolutely oppose. It is ridiculous, wrong, and dangerous. The notion behind it sounds good-- police being able to identify who's the age of having restrictions on their license so that they can enforce those restrictions. But you know, communism sounds pretty good in theory, too, but it's not. In reality, it is profiling. Lawmakers claim that police won't use this to target teenagers, but you just know that's inevitable. Traffic cops have quotas they have to meet, seeing one of those decals just says to them that they give the driver a ticket for anything because they're young and probably won't fight it. It's practically an invitation for cops to harrass young drivers. Even more worrisome, it's an invitation for everyone else too-- sex offenders, insurance fraud... It's like waving a giant neon flag screaming, "I'M YOUNG, INEXPERIENCED EASY PREY!" A few years ago somebody tried to pass a law requiring alcoholics to have a sticker like that on their cars, but that idea got shot down. Alcoholics don't have stickers warning people. Sex offenders don't have any either. Neither do the elderly, who have been statiscally proven to be more dangerous drivers than teenagers. This isn't even for all new drivers. Just teenagers. People who have committed the most horrendous crimes don't have decals warning other people, but the youngest, most vulnerable drivers, most of which have done nothing wrong are being turned into targets. It's dangerous and it's wrong. And it does NOTHING to protect the safety of them or anybody else. If a person is a horrible driver, a sticker will not change that. If a person is a good driver, not having a sticker will not make them any worse.
How would having an orange sticker on the license plate have prevented the car accident Kyleigh was in? It wouldn't have stopped the driver from losing control of the car and crashing into a tree. The most it could have done was lead to a cop pulling them over. And then what? Give the driver a ticket? Force one passenger out of the car? And what, make her walk to wherever they were going? That wouldn't stop the driver from losing control over the car after the police pulled away. The decals do nothing for safety.
The decals are without a doubt the most horrible part of the law, but also unfortunately not too likely to be overtuned (although I pray to God it does). If there's one thing my year in AP US History has taught me, it's that the government does nothing because it actually cares about the good of the people-- it's all about money and politics. This law was passed under the guise to protect teen drivers, but all it does is cost us more money. The increase in driving lessons, the decals-- they won't be giving those out for free, you have to pay for them and if you're under 21 and caught without theym, you get fined $100, and they target teens so that any time they do a single thing wrong (and probably even if they didn't-- the decals are supposed to be removable so what about when you park somewhere and someone just takes it off your car and then you get caught without it-- the innocent young driver would have to pay for that), they get ticketed and have to pay for it. The reason why most politicians didn't vote against this (because this is obviously a poorly-thought out, horrible law) because they were probably too afraid of how it would make them look. Having it named after a kid makes it seem more like it's all for the good of the children and would make them seem like they didn't want to do anything to prevent what happened to Kyleigh to happen to another kid. They don't care about the safety of teen drivers. If they did, they'd come up with a hell of a lot better law than this.
What Would Actually Help Safety of Teen Drivers:
- Getting a learner's permit at 15 instead of 16. The longer you have a permit, the more practice you get with driving (under the guidance of parents/guardian) and by the time they get their license, if they've been driving for about two years already they'll already be comfortable with it and less likely to make novice mistakes, which means they'll be better, safer drivers.
- Require anyone who gets ticketed for reckless driving to take a refresher course in driving lessons-- teens aren't the only ones and not all teens drive like maniacs but there are plenty of adults that do and those that do are just as much a danger to teen drivers as teen drivers are to them.
- Pushing school back an hour or so-- young people naturally stay up later and sleep in later, but early school hours disturb this and cause sleep deprivation, which scientists have said has an effect similar to alcohol on judgement, reaction time, and driving skill. And I have seen a report on the news on a school that changed their hours because of this, and as a result there was a decrease in car accidents involving students around the school.
So yeah, Kyleigh's Law is ridiculous. If it only had the restrictions for the first year or so of having a license and got rid of the decal part, it would be reasonable, but all those restrictions until 21 and turning teens into targets completely crosses the line. Good intent, AWFUL law. I really hope the attorney suing over it wins.
- Current Mood: aggravated
And I need to get a ton of homework done. Over break, I've been assigned five essays and a set of review questions. I did the algebra essay and one history essay, both of which are due tomorrow. The only other thing due tomorrow are these seven review questions for history. I hate my history textbook. As I just phrased it to Catherine, history can be so interesting when they present it like a story (like the previous textbooks I've had) and it's even better than a story because only reality is stranger than fiction. But all this textbook does is show facts, not stories. Boring fact after boring fact, sucking out anything remotely interesting. Reading it (there is no other way to describe this) makes me want to gouge my eyes out with my pen and fill the sockets with miniature half-crazed weasels. Seriously... it's the same thing when you turn history into a movie. Show it with a plot and audiences love it, present it as just facts in a documentary and people fall asleep because if they didn't close their eyes, they would gouge them out. It should be required for history to be presented in an interesting way. Because it's getting late, and I'm not getting anything accomplished other than becoming better at lipsynching to The Gaslight Anthem. And their music is putting me in way too good of a mood to be killed by boring facts on the Great Depression. Seriously, that's what she assigns us for Christmas vacation... what a killjoy.
- Current Mood: hyper
- Current Music:"Drive" by Gaslight Anthem
I should really be working on my history essay right now. I have to write a 5 page essay about my history teacher's 22 page essay that he wrote in grad school. I have no idea what to write. Well, I kind of do. I have an idea of what I'm supposed to write but it feels like my brain is filled with fog. My mind just feels hazy and my thoughts just aren't coming out as clear as they usually do. I just want to stare at a wall or a television and just sit there and not have to think about anything but at the same time I want to be able to think clearly and write what I want to say but for some reason I can't. I hate it when this happens. I remember I used to feel like my head was about to explode because of all the thoughts I had bouncing around inside it. I miss that feeling, it's been gone for awhile.
And this reminds me of this song a friend keeps repeating in gym class. I forget most of it, but the part that comes to mind right now is:
"I was in my room and I was just like staring at the wall thinking about everything, but then again I was thinking about nothing. And then my mom came in, and I didn't even know she was there. She called my name and I didn't hear her and then she started screaming “Mike, Mike!” And I go “what? Whats the matter?” She goes “whats the matter with you?” I go “theres nothing wrong, mom.” Shes all “don't tell me that! You're on drugs!” I go “no mom I'm not on drugs. I'm ok, I'm just thinking, you know? Why don't you get me a Pepsi?” She goes “No! You're on drugs!” I go “mom, I'm ok. I'm just thinking.” She goes “No! You're not thinking, you're on drugs! Normal people don't be acting that way!” I go “mom, just get me a Pepsi! Please, all I want is a Pepsi!” And she wouldn't give it to me! All I wanted was a Pepsi, just one Pepsi, and she wouldn't give it to me! Just a Pepsi!"
Hehe... I think I'm gonna go get a pepsi now and then try to focus on my essay.
- Current Mood: apathetic
- Current Music:"Institutionalized" by Suicidal Tendencies