Tuesday, January 16, 2007

No joke

Teen driving rules often aren't followed and aren't enforced. After the recent accident in Freehold where a teenager was driving and four people were killed, the Star-Ledger found that convictions for violations are rare at best and teenagers simply ignore their licence restrictions:

A tragic two-vehicle crash in Freehold Township last week brought a new focus on the law. One of the drivers, 17-year-old Michael Dragonetti, had two other teenagers in his vehicle, violating the terms of his provisional license. Dragonetti and his passengers were killed, along with the driver of the other vehicle. All four were buried yesterday.
Stand in the student parking lot at any New Jersey high school and you are likely to learn that Dragonetti was not alone in ignoring the restrictions that came with the provisional license he was granted on Nov. 27. Cars and SUVs with three or four students are commonplace.
Teenage drivers interviewed last week said they and their friends are well aware of the restrictions, but pay them little heed.
"I'm breaking them right now," 17-year-old Rachel Borweegen said as a group of her friends piled into her burgundy Chrysler Cirrus at the end of the day at Edison High School.

I wonder if Rachel's parents read the Star-Ledger?

There doesn't seem to be much reason to worry. Between July 2004 and November 2006, only 12 provisional drivers in New Jersey were given tickets for carrying too many passengers in their cars, according to data provided to MVC by the courts, commission spokesman Mike Horan said.
Violations of other restrictions set out under the graduated driver's license law were no more likely to result in convictions. During the same time period, only nine provisional drivers were cited for driving late at night, Horan said.

Does this really shock anyone? It's a shame- these laws were set up so teenagers could learn to be better drivers before they take on full licence privileges, and so they could save lives while that learning happens. Instead, they're a joke for both the young drivers and cops.

Michael J. Dragonetti wasn't supposed to have James S. Warnock or Andrew Lundy in the car with him last week. They and Ruth Mac Arthur, who was driving the minivan they struck, were killed.

This is no joke.

1 comment:

Bob said...

Terrible tragedy though it was, as popular as the students were, there was an unspoken sense of casual middle class teen entitlement throughout the coverage. Entitled to a late model Cadillac, entitled to speed, entitled to ignore the provisional license law. I couldn't help but think of Springsteen's melancholy "Racing In the Streets." Two kids in my high school were killed in a terrible, senseless wreck. That was 1965.