Driving Penalties Too Harsh For Those Under 18
March 1, 2017
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The under 18 driving laws range depending on the state. In Massachusetts, prior to completing in school driver’s ed for six weeks, one is required to also observe three hours and drive six hours with an instructor before one is eligible to take the driver’s road test. After the following objectives are completed, and one has passed their road test, they are then are eligible to be on the road, but with this comes limitations. There are varying penalties for violation of passenger restriction, curfews, operating under the influence, and speeding.
Although I agree with most of these restrictions, I believe that the penalties for speeding are too punitive. Young adolescents and parents spend huge amounts of money for drivers ed ($500) and early morning transports to drivers ed schooling for six weeks. The amount of money and time that is spent prior to being eligible to drive therefore, should not be disregarded when someone receives a speeding ticket.
According to massrmv.com, if an under 18 driver is caught speeding the license suspension of six month is taken place after a few weeks. This can be further extended if the driver fights the ticket. In this case, they continue to drive until the court date. After the speeding ticket is filed the driver must re-complete the whole process: Learner’s permit, Driver’s Ed Schooling, observing and driving hours with an instructor, and re-take the road test after the six month suspension is over. This whole process is physically, mentally, and money draining for the driver and the family. Yes, the driver has a penalty but this also affects the parent’s schedule too. They no longer are eligible to commute to their daily jobs, school, and activities.
This penalty detrimentally affects the financial situation for families as well. According to massachusettsdriversinfo.org, an initial fee of $500 dollars is owed to the state on top of the speeding fee. This means that right from the beginning over $1000 is owed for one speeding violation, $500 for the state and $500 for the re-doing of drivers ed plus speeding fee. Young drivers work hard to pay off monthly car bills, gas, etc.. On top of the fees being ridiculously high, the driver’s insurance goes up monthly for the next three years. It is unreasonable to have this many consequences due to one mistake. The process is financial drainer and is in no way in favor of any persons under the age of 18.
Underage individuals that have received speeding tickets have stated that they further extended the ticket with fighting it in court and upon that was fully released from the ticket. This takes time out of students schooling as well as from parents jobs to drive them to court, all to just be released from the offense within minutes. Not to mention the stress prior to the court date of the driver.
There should be an agreeable compromise between the law enforcement and under age drivers. One speeding penalty is too punitive, but perhaps two chances would be a more reasonable option. If over 18 drivers are given an abundance of chances, then there is no reason drivers under 18 shouldn’t be given two. This is an ongoing problem and two chances would reduce the amount of money, time, and stress to not only the driver, but to the family.
Massachusetts driving laws for speeding violations under 18 are too harsh. The automatic suspension for six months is inconceivable and as well as unreasonable.