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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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Teen driving privileges change

Teens dream of the privileges and independence after turning 16; however, a new law may prevent teens from experiencing the world of independence and adventure and keep them driving ?solo? for longer than expected.

The newest California State law to hit teen drivers went into effect on Jan. 1, 2006.

For the first 12 months, newly licensed drivers will be prohibited from transporting anyone under the age of 20 unless accompanied by a licensed driver 25 years or older.

In addition, teenagers are barred from driving between the hours of 11 P.M. and 5 A.M. unless properly supervised.

Previously, beginner drivers were only kept from carrying passengers during their first six months and were disallowed driving between midnight and 5 A.M.

Without surprise, most teenagers find the new law a burden and a restriction of their freedoms.

?I?m kind of mad that I have to wait,? Bill Cowin, ?08, said. ?The whole point of having a license is to get freedom; this law kind of restricts that.?

Others feel that some social opportunities may be neglected in favor of harsher limitations.

?I think it?s dumb,? Ryan Brunn, ?08, said. ?It prohibits us from driving experiences and going to parties with friends!?

According to the Traffic Research Injury Foundation, teen crash rates do not decrease until 15 months after the new driver becomes licensed.

?Teenagers would probably hate me for saying this, but I think the new driving restrictions are a good thing,? Ellen King, teacher and parent of three, said.

While the old driving law of six months reduced teen driving fatalities by 40 percent, the new law is expected to reduce the number to 13 percent according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

?A policeman once told me that 80% of 16-year-olds were in a traffic collision during their first six months of driving,? King said.

Though the interest of their teen?s safety comes before social obligations, some parents feel relieved from burdens as their teen becomes independent.

?As a mom, it was sure nice when my kids could get around on their own or with friends ? it saved me a lot of time,? said King.

For more information go online to www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10656847/ and read ?New Years Brings New Teen-Driving Restrictions?.

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