Make teen driving law more strict

More articles in newspapers and stories in the news are piling up on fatalities and injuries from teenage auto accidents. Looking at statistics, California has less deaths and injuries than Washington. The reason behind this is California’s teen driving laws are stricter. By being harsher and changing the law in Washington, the car accidents involving youth can decrease in our state.

Currently, Washington’s teen driving law requires new drivers only need to have their driver’s license for a minimum of six months before being able to transport minors in the car with them. If Washington were to increase the law to one year, like California, this state would have less teen accidents every year. In 1998, California passed a law requiring teen drivers have their license for a year before being able to drive young passengers in the car without an adult over the age of 20. Statistics showed that within the first two years of the law’s passage, California had a 40 percent decrease in teen passengers killed or injured by 16-year-old drivers.

When there are fewer distractions in the car for teenage drivers, less accidents occur. The time limit that allows the number of passengers in the car with the teen driver should be increased. Teen drivers driving with just an adult or by themselves will focus more on driving, rather than the passengers. It also decreases the number of victims if an accident were to occur.

In 2006, California amended its curfew law, requiring teens to have their license for a least one year before being able to drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless they are with an adult over the age of 20. Washington’s curfew law states that minors are not allowed to drive between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. Statistics showed that 43 percent of the 2001 teenage motor accidents occurred between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

With the injuries and deaths due to teen car accidents, Washington should have a law that requires inexperienced drivers to gain time behind the wheel before putting others lives, including their own, in danger. California should be a model to Washington and our teens’ lives should mean more than just six months in training.

Lexie Alaniz