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Teens react to recent driver’s license law

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The Ellis County Press

MIDLOTHIAN - Ellis County teenagers are unhappy over the recently passed Graduated Drivers License measure, a state law taking effect on Jan. 1.

'I feel sorry for all of the kids in my driver's education class who won't be 16 until after Jan. 1,' said Midlothian High School junior Sarah Birchett. 'Not all teenagers are bad drivers.' Birchett, who is 17, said the law could easily be extended to include teenagers who are 18.

'The government should stay off our backs. This [law] is the equivalent to the curfew laws.'

Under the new system, drivers in their first six months of driving will be prohibited from being out on roads between midnight and 5 a.m. It also prohibits more than one passenger under 21 years of age from being in the same vehicle unless that person is a family member.

The Texas chapter of the American Automobile Association co-sponsored the law.

However, not all teenagers share the same sentiment as Birchett.

'Why would someone need to be out that late in the first place?' said Red Oak High School junior Jennifer Paul.

'I was in a wreck with a friend because she does not have experience driving. I agree with the new Texas law.'

Others say the parents are the one's who need to be telling their kids when to be home.

'My parents own me, not the government,' said Red Oak High School sophomore Julianne Pisors.

'It's my parents choice what time I should be home and how many people are in my car. The government needs to stay out of my life.'

Paul says parental control is the main reason behind the newly created law.

'Some parents are not taking on the role of being a parent,' she said. 'Teenagers that just got their driver's license are inexperienced.'

A news conference implementing the new statute, was held Tuesday, Dec. 18 at Highland Park High School. The gathering attracted numerous supporters of the law, including Kelly Engelbert, who lost her mother in an auto accident. State Senator Teel Bivins and Representatives Joe Driver and Burt Solomons were legislators supporting the measure.

According to statistics provided by the state, motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of Texas teenagers with driver error, speed, peer passenger distraction and lack of experience among the most frequent causes of these fatal collisions.

Both Birchett and Pisors wonder why laws against drunk drivers are more lenient than the statutes against teenage drivers.

'People driving under the influence are the most dangerous drivers out there,' Birchett said. 'Teenagers aren't the only ones irresponsible. There should be tougher laws against drunk drivers.

'The government takes their power for granted,' Birchett said. They make laws not to better society, but to harm the commoners. But one bad apple spoils them all, I guess.'

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