Today’s Editorial: For the safety of teens

There will no doubt be some unhappy teens in the near future.

Members of the Legislative Assembly have passed an amendment to the traffic law making it harder for teens to get driver’s licences.

Under the new law, which takes effect once it has been Gazetted, once teenagers pass a written test to get a learner’s permit they will be required to complete a longer period of supervised driving before being given restricted licence.

Once the practical experience phase is completed, teens will have to pass a road test to get a restricted licence.

Restricted licence means teens won’t be allowed to drive on the roads of the Cayman Islands between the hours of 11pm and 5am and they can’t carry more than two passengers. They’ll also be under a zero alcohol policy.

Any violation means the teen can lose his licence for a year.

That will mean that alternative means of transportation will have to be found – usually parents.

Therefore, it is incumbent on parents of young drivers to make sure those teens know the rules and regulations under the new traffic law and adhere to them.

Parents should be taking more responsibility as it relates to their teen drivers anyway. It isn’t necessary to buy teens the latest, low down cars and trucks just so they can impress their friends.

If all parents don’t take responsibility to ensure their teens are using proper behaviour while driving, the new law won’t be worth the time and effort put into it.

Any parent who has been through the death of a child through a careless road accident can tell you that they think of that child each and every day and wonder what they could have done to stop the accident or ensure the safety of that child.

It’s a safe bet that anyone who has lived in the Cayman Islands for any length of time knows of a teen that has died in a traffic accident.

Losing our young people through road accidents is deplorable and unnecessary. Not only has someone lost a child, but the potential of that child as an adult is lost forever.

Teens must realize this legislation wasn’t passed to punish them or take away any of their fun.

The law is needed to help curb the number of untimely deaths due to traffic accidents. It won’t stop them all, but it is a good start.

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