I was perusing the Inforum this morning, and stumbled on an article about the new driving law being passed in North Dakota beginning January 1st. This law would require drivers under the age of 16 to hold onto their permit status for an entire year before receiving their license. Wait, what? Drivers UNDER THE AGE of 16? How is that even possible?
Back in Maryland, you have to have a learners permit for 6 months before you can receive a license. You have to complete 60 hours of practice driving before you can get your license. (60 hours with someone over 21=my mom screaming at me and pumping her foot at an imaginary pedal for 60 grueling hours). To receive your license, you have to be at least 16 and 3 months. That means on your 16th birthday, no trip to the DMV followed by a celebratory cruise around town with your closest friends. You also are not allowed to talk on your cell phone until you’re 18, and actually, I’m pretty sure you aren’t allowed to talk on your cell phone period in Maryland anymore. Finally, once you receive your license, you have to make it 18 consecutive months with no moving violations before your provisional license status is removed and you can drive past midnight.
Now, I knew that the drivers license age in ND was low. When I moved here, my boyfriend’s 13 year old cousin was chatting about how it was almost time for her to get her permit. When I laughed and said 15 is still a long way off, I was soon corrected. I understand that out on the farms, parents need children to drive a little sooner, but his cousin is from Bismarck. Whats the reason there?
I think I am going to make myself feel very much like my mother with this comment, but I’m sorry, you are just not mature enough to drive at 14 and I fully support this law change. Heck, I don’t think I was even mature enough to drive at 16 (please don’t tell my mom that I admitted that). I understand some of the points brought up by the relieved 14 1/2 year old quoted in the article that secured his license before the law was passed. Yes, it is difficult having your parents drive you around everywhere. Yes, you do feel a greater sense of freedom when you don’t have a parent next to you. But I’m sorry, 14… seriously? 14? On this one ND, I fully support your decision.
As far as the new law that requires you to be 18 before you can talk on the phone while driving, I revert back to my teenage self when I say: DUH! Now, I consider myself a very responsible and attentive driver, and I have to admit that I jumped for joy a bit when I moved back to a state that allowed me to talk on my phone while driving at all… but is it the safest thing to do while you’re behind the wheel? Probably not. Now take a teenager, who just learned to drive, add a few friends yapping in the back seat, and give them a cell phone– disaster.
So I’m sorry those of you that will be affected by this law, boyfriend’s cousin included. I’m sorry that you will now have to wait until you’re 15.. gasp.. maybe even 16 before you can fly solo behind the wheel. But all in all you have to put it in perspective. Almost anywhere else in the country and you would have to be 16 or older. And while my 16 year old self would hate me for saying this, and definitely roll her eyes, just because there is less traffic in North Dakota compared to living outside of Washington DC does not make you a more mature individual.
So good job, ND. A thumbs up for your new law. After Jan. 1st I can breath a little easier out on the open road, and probably call someone on the phone to chat about it.
To check out the full article: http://www.inforum.com/event/article/id/317281/