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Cierra King
Cierra King is a Senior at Northwest High School. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Newspaper staff, and the varsity track and field team. Outside of school King is involved in her church youth group, and participates with Fashionetta. After graduating King plans to attend the University of Kansas, and major in journalism and mass communications. After graduating the University of Kansas, she wants to become a magazine editor for Teen People magazine.
Teens' Forum
2007-02-01 13:49:00
Kansas teen drivers...stricter laws?
ANSWER: The state of Kansas is in a predicament of whether the state wants to add new restrictions for teenage drivers. Kansas is one of five states lacking restrictions for teen drivers. Thirty-two states prohibit night driving, restrict the number of passengers, or require a licensed adult while the teen is driving. In Kansas, teen drivers from 15-18 represent 67 percent of registered drivers, but 20.1 percent are accounted for all accidents. At the age of 16, a Kansas teen can earn a full privileged license, drive at anytime of the day, including at night, and can have as many passengers in the car as they want while they are driving. Having too many passengers in the car is one of the leading causes of all accidents. In 1999-2004, 14-17 year old drivers were involved in 60,013 crashes, 26,050 injuries, and 273 fatalities. “One of the stipulations Kansas has is that you cannot have any passengers under the age of 18 while having a restricted license only. The cause of too many accidents is that teenagers drive with too many passengers in the car. In California a driver under the age of 17 cannot have any passengers under the age of 18. If we force new driving restrictions it will eliminate the problem of unsafe driving,” Doug Vannaman, drivers education teacher said. Northwest students agree that new driving restrictions should be added, but some think that if they force the restrictions that it will not eliminate the problem. “If they force teens with new restrictions, they are going to do what they want to regardless of what kinds of rules there are,” Sophomore Brittany Gonsalvez said. One of the biggest problems of teen drivers is that some people are worried that teenagers at the age of 16 are not intellectually, socially, or emotionally ready to handle the rules of the road. Statistics show that teenagers understand traffic laws and the importance of them just as much as adults do. “It is not fair to say that 16 year olds are not ready, because some are more mature than others and can handle the responsibilities. Driving can be stressful, but it is important to remember to leave for your destination at a time where the driver will not be rushed in traffic, and to always use the appropriate speeding limit,” a local Allstate Insurance agent said. Statistics say that it takes five years to be qualified as an experienced driver, because the driver has experienced different types of driving situations, such as weather hazards, traffic delays, closed roads, and becoming more aware of their surroundings. In January 2007 new traffic proposals will be presented. Kansas may add the restriction that a teen driver has to wait until the age of 17 to have a passenger under the age of 18, and that while having a restricted license the driver cannot drive during night hours.
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