The beginning of adulthood might soon change from the age of 18 to 21. As of 2017, the only perks of turning 18 are being able to fight for the country, rent an apartment and buy lottery tickets. The legal age to purchase cigarettes and alcohol is 21 in California, and the age to drive after 11 p.m. will possibly rise to 21 too.
According to the proposed bill by Assemblyman Jim Frazier, young drivers from the age of 18-20 will have a provisional license. The same restrictions under the original provisional licensing will apply under the new bill. An exception would be made for those who drive to work or school drivers will need to carry a schedule stating why they are driving during the restricted hours.
The bill passed state legislature last week and is awaiting a signature from California Governor Jerry Brown. If signed, it will become law in January 2020.
There could not be a more ridiculous law proposed because lawmakers think they cannot trust young adults driving late at night. Young drivers are not the only ones who make up the crazy drivers on the road – some experienced drivers are still reckless and aggressive.
An exciting moment for many young drivers is when they receive their driver’s license. It signifies a step into adulthood and more independence, instead of relying on our parents to drive us around. When a minor receives their driver’s license there are certain restrictions for the first year. Having a provisional license means a minor cannot drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. and cannot transport passengers under the age of 20.
The only exceptions to the restrictions are emergencies between the restricted hours or if you are driving a passenger under 20 with a parent or guardian, California driver over the age of 25 or a certified driving instructor. Many minors cannot wait for that 12-month period to be over so they can drive whenever and whoever they wish.
“Passing this law definitely won’t make a difference,” business sophomore Ricardo Valencia said. “It’s complete nonsense that an assemblyman is dedicating time into this when there are bigger issues on hand.”
The point behind passing this bill is to make the roads safer for young drivers. A 2013 study by the California DMV found that the most dangerous period of driving for young adults is immediately after they have been licensed, particularly in the first month. During the first month of being licensed, teen drivers were 50% more likely to be involved in a crash after a full year of licensure, and nearly twice as likely to be involved in a crash as they were after 2 years of receiving a license.
In 2000, Frazier lost his daughter Stephanie Marie Frazier in a car accident. Since the incident, he has been very involved in transportation safety and is the chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee. Frazier stated in a news release how he feels that no other parent should go through the horrific experience of losing a child.
Young drivers may face frustration due to having a provisional license but in the end it is only one year with restrictions. The roads will always be dangerous, whether drivers are on provisional licenses or not. People still drive drunk and reckless. Passing this new law won’t make the roads permanently safer.
This law has the best intentions but it does not necessarily mean that it will succeed.