Posted on Apr 19, 2012
The US Senate is currently dusting off a tactic that it used over 30 years ago in raising drinking ages from 18 to 21 to push for more stringent driving laws for teenagers nationwide. Offering grants and benefits to states that comply with regulations of texting, age limits, and nighttime driving, the senate hopes to encourage states to comply with a list of rules intended to make roads safer for teens. The bill is expected to raise some objections from states’ rights advocates, but its sponsor, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D – N.Y.) has continued to fight for its passage.
The bill would affect laws in some states more than others. Many would already be in compliance with its primary requirements, where a few would face considerably stricter policies. Three states would have to end their policy of unrestricted nighttime driving for teens. South Dakota, which has always had rather lenient rules and has traditionally issued unrestricted licenses at 16, would likely see the most formidable changes to its statutes. The bill’s proponents, however, stress that unlike the threats of sudden budget cuts faced over drinking laws 30 years ago, they seek to encourage states more through benefits than consequences.