Family Matters
October 2005
Hugh Jensen

New Driving Laws. A Father’s Perspective.

I recognize the there is some value in the new laws regarding teenage provisional license drivers. The new laws are best described as “bad laws”. A teenager who gets their license in the minimum time will now be 16 years, 9 months old before they can drive with their friend to school. That’s almost a full year. After carefully reviewing the new laws we need to rethink this law.

Here is the link http://mva.state.md.us/DriverServ/ROOKIEDRIVER/lawcompare.htm

Young adults previously had to wait 30 days after they turned 16 to obtain their provisional license. The provisional license has restrictions to limit the opportunity for foul play. Effective October 1st, a provisional license can not be obtained before the age of 16 years, three months. Not a large difference in time but frankly, no added value either.

New provisional drivers must drive themselves to school instead of carpooling. With gas prices over $3.00 per gallon across the state, this is a gross waste of resources and financially irresponsible. Parking at schools for students, events and extra curricular activities is now an issue. Conservatively, the increased number of vehicles will hover around 20%. The ramifications for parking alone will stagger Carroll County Schools and likely have a negative impact on school fundraising activities.

How does your teenager now get to and from work after school? They can no longer hop a ride with their school mates? What about socializing? After school activities are a large part of maturing as a teenager. Grabbing a pizza with your friends after the football game or after a win by Century High’s band. How will high school students get to and from practice for extra curricular activities? What about after school tutoring and study programs. Nope, no relief there either.

Now let’s consider dating. How do young adults date? What about the Prom, the Homecoming dances and so on?

Given the penalty for violation (30 day suspension of provisional license), who do our law makers think are going to abide by the new law? If a new driver is going to drink and drive, I doubt this 30 day potential suspension really be a deterrent? Is this new law magically going to slow down the speeders on Liberty Road?

Now consider the real harm. The additional burden this absurdity places on the police is insane. I would much rather the police spend their time solving crimes, hunting bank robbers, looking for drunk drivers, or chasing bad guys instead of counting the number of students in a car and filing paperwork. Let’s fix this before “Readers Digest” publishes it in “That’s Outrageous”.

Sometimes when we as adults make mistakes, we just have to accept it and take corrective action. This is one of those cases.

”Family Man”
Hugh Jensen


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