Friday, August 15, 2008

Dying to Drive

Teen drivers in Massachusetts have plenty of incentives to take it slow. If they are caught speeding, they lose their license. After 90 says suspension, they’re required to take two driver’s education courses and pay $500 to have their license reinstated.

Since the law took effect more than a year ago, requests for hearings at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, where teen drivers plead their case, are up significantly. Hearing officer, Deana Douville, told the Boston Globe that kids often show up ready for battle. “Vulgar language – right in front of their parents,” said Douville.

Parents get hostile, too, often demanding that something be done to get their child back behind the wheel.

Nothing about this surprises me. Too many parents tolerate bad behavior seeming to think it’s OK for their kids to be abusive and rude to other adults. Bottom line: a lot of kids are spoiled and getting the not-so-subtle message that it’s OK to be pushy and rude.

There’s a reason for the teen speeding law: to save lives. And it works. The proof is in the numbers. Since Massachusetts put the law on the books, the number of fatal crashes has dropped 37 percent.

I hope these pushy parents will take a minute to consider how self-righteous they’d feel if they got that dreaded phone call in the middle of the night saying their child, who they think can do no wrong, was dead.

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