Age doesn’t drive ability

A proposed law targeting Ontario’s young drivers could put more restrictions on their licences, the Toronto Star reported Nov. 17.

If the recommendations go through, drivers in all licence classes under the age of 21 would be required to have a zero blood-alcohol level and those with G2 licences wouldn’t be allowed to carry more than one passenger under 19 years old during the first year of their licensing period. There would also be zero-tolerance for speeding.

Although the proposed law’s intention to increase road safety is good, its age-specific application is unfair and, in some cases, illogical.

The legislation could end up punishing people for being designated drivers where it should be encouraging this type of responsible behaviour.

The law that limits passengers already applies between midnight and 5 a.m., but the proposed law would see it applied equally during the day. This could make it difficult for teens to share a ride to school or work.

Ontario should be encouraging environmentally-friendly initiatives like carpooling.

The law would also penalize teens who live in rural areas, where there’s limited access to public transit and it’s difficult to get anywhere by foot.

It’s commendable that the government is taking aim at creating safer road conditions for all drivers. But if the government wants to curb dangerous driving and driving under the influence, it might be more beneficial to re-examine the licensing process.

Licensing companies are currently privately-owned and it might be worthwhile to look into creating and enforcing a standard across the board.

The government needs to be aware of the types of drivers they’re licensing to be on the road.

If people are taught how to drive safely and are given the opportunity to practice a certain number of hours on the road with an instructor, they would be safer drivers once they received their full licences.

It’s arbitrary to pick the age 21 and generalize all young drivers, when road experience can be a more accurate measure of how safe a driver is. Bad drivers don’t suddenly improve once they turn 21; both young and old drivers need to be given the same type of training to ensure road safety for all.

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