The license law, which went into effect in January 2010, is working because young drivers are getting more supervised practice behind the wheel before being allowed on Kansas’ highways.
Kansas Department of Transportation records show the number of accidents involving drivers 14 through 16 years old dropped from more than 5,000 in 2004 and 2005 to fewer than 3,000 last year. Meanwhile, the Associated Press — citing a Wichita Eagle report — reported that the number of fatalities involving drivers in that age group went from an average of 22 a year from 2004 through 2009 to 15 in 2010 and nine in 2011.
It’s a law that was necessary.
The graduated license law carries two main provisions designed to increase the amount of supervision a teenage driver receives before getting an unrestricted license. The first requires all teenage drivers to have a learner’s permit for 12 months before obtaining a restricted or unrestricted license. A restricted license allows unsupervised driving to and from work or school. Then, a 16-year-old who gets a full license is prohibited during the first six months from using a cellular phone while driving, having more than one non-sibling minor passenger, and driving after 9 p.m. except to and from work or school.
Those stipulations have helped to limit the number of potential distractions for young motorists. Keeping them out of harm’s way is essential. The death of a teen — especially during an accident that could have been avoided — is a tragedy not only for a family, but an entire community.
The residual impact of the license law is that the roads are now safer for all of us. Our lawmakers should be praised for taking action.
— The Hutchinson News