More States Restrict Teen Driving–Outsourcing Parenting to The Police?


More states are passing laws that restrict when, how, and with whom teenagers can get behind the wheel, reports the New York Times. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia prohibit teenagers from driving with another teenager, and all but seven states forbid them from driving with more than one. In South Carolina, teenagers cannot drive after 6 p.m. in winter (8 p.m. in summer), and in Idaho, they are banned from sundown to sunup.

In New Jersey, which has long had the highest U.S. licensing age, 17, lawmakers are pushing further, requiring teenage drivers to attach a red decal to their license plates to make it easier for the police to enforce a curfew and passenger restrictions, and proposing a law to require even parents to complete a driver education course. The laws have raised complaints that the state is outsourcing parenting to the police — not to mention that passenger limits effectively outlaw the teenage double date. Safety campaigners point to studies showing that the laws have significantly reduced traffic deaths and call them a natural extension for a generation that has grown up protected by sport utility strollers and bicycle helmet laws.

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