Saturday, November 14, 2009

Support the STANDUP ACT of 2009 (teen driving safety)

My son completed Drivers Education recently. In New Hampshire, he cannot get his license until he has logged 40 hours of supervised driving, 10 hours of which must be night time driving. The earliest that he will complete this requirement is early January. More likely it will be the end of February or even March. Once he gets his license, the state of New Hampshire forbids him from having any non-familial passengers in the car for the first six months. Also, he is not allowed to drive (unsupervised) between the hours of 1AM and 5AM (like I'd let that happen anyway).

These are great restrictions. However, Congressmen Tim Bishop (D-NY), Michael Castle (R-DE), and Chris Van Hollen, Jr. (D-MD) do not believe this is enough, since more than 4,000 teenagers died in auto accidents last year. They introduced H.R. 1895: The STANDUP Act. The following is from the Safe Roads 4 Teens site:

  • States must meet the following requirements under the STANDUP Act:
  • Three stages of licensing – learner’s permit, intermediate stage, and full licensure – should be used
  • Age 16 should be the earliest age for entry into the learner’s permit process
  • Nighttime driving while unsupervised should be restricted during the learner’s permit and intermediate stages, until full licensure at age 18
  • Driving while using communication devices (cell phone calls, texting) should be prohibited at least until full licensure at age 18
  • Unrestricted, full licensure should occur no earlier than age 18
  • Passengers should be restricted – no more than one non-familial passenger under age 21 unless a licensed driver over age 21 is in the vehicle – until full licensure at age 18

  • Any other requirement adopted by the Secretary of Transportation, such as a minimum duration of 6 months and a minimum of 30 hours of supervised driving for a learner’s permit, may be included
  • Compliance with the requirements within the first three years after enactment will make states eligible for incentive grants
  • Three years are provided for states to meet the requirements, after which sanctions are imposed to encourage states to meet the requirements

Regardless of whether this law passes, I like the restrictions for teen drivers and will be adopting them for our son. Sorry, Kiddo, I love you too much to risk your life. I'm sure you'll turn out to be a great driver. But, I need to make sure that you take this privilege and the risk it represents quite seriously.

1 comment:

Summer said...

My boys had similar rules. They couldn't drive friends around for 6 months. My younger son asked me why his brother couldn't drive friends but he could drive him around.