An inconvenient or life-saving law?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 1, 2002

Accidents are the leading cause of death in teenagers. Youth, inexperience, and the turbulence of the teenage years can lead to poor judgment behind the wheel, often with tragic results.

We commend the State of Alabama for joining with 39 other states in attempting to reduce these grisly statistics and save the lives of our young drivers. By limiting their driving time in the early morning hours, when even an adult may have impaired judgment due to exhaustion, we limit their opportunities to make mistakes.

Statistics also show that when more than three teens are in a car, the chances of an accident are much higher. By restricting that number, we not only lower the possibility, but the numbers of injured or dead if there is an accident.

Yes, the law will provide inconvenient for some. And yet – those who are working late, attending church or school functions, or are driving because of a medical emergency are protected under the law. What other respectable reason would a teenager have for driving without parents after midnight?

Weigh inconvenience against grief and watch it fade to petty annoyance. Ask any parent who has lost a child to a late night accident, and they will agree.

The law protects the young drivers in another way - the late night-early morning hours are the territory of the drunk driver. The teenager may be a sterling soul, a non-drinker merely working late at a fast food place to save money for college, but that doesn't mean the next driver down the road is.

We cannot make this world a perfect place for raising children to adulthood - too many unknown dangers lurk in every corner. But we can take on those known dangers -those dark statistics - and do our best the change the numbers, if not erase them.