We’ve spent time examining several potential new auto safety laws that took shape throughout last year.
While most, if not all, of these are still in their initial phases, some of them (such as Chicago’s speeding camera proposal) made headlines. One that was flying a bit under the radar was a proposal that would raise the age at which teenagers receive a learner’s permit from 15 to 16 years, and would further tighten restrictions for teenagers driving at night.
The rationale for this appears to be simple — teenagers make mistakes. While it may seem to be a bit harsh — taking away a rite of passage — the likely benefits would be twofold.
First, the apparent advantage is the safety of drivers on the road — it takes away the temptation for young people to make mistakes, and it protects against inexperience. However, there is another likely benefit that doesn’t necessarily meet the eye at first glance. A great number (if not a majority) of teenage drivers can’t yet afford their own insurance and, as such, rely on their parents’ insurance plans.
When said teenage driver injures someone in a night time accident, it is the parent whose insurance rate goes up because of the accident — and may even find them subject to a lawsuit for negligent entrustment in the event that their insurance company refuses to pay for the damage from the injury (which, as any plaintiff’s attorney will tell you, is far more common than it probably ought to be).
There was not yet a firm measure working its’ way through the legislature, but measures such as this, while perhaps cutting against tradition, speak volumes in the necessary task of pushing overall driver safety forward.
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