Graduated driver's license safer

Letters to the editor

Posted: Thursday, November 18, 2004

MacKenzie Allison raises a valid point in her letter concerning the new provisional driver's license soon to be in effect in Alaska (letters to the editor, Nov. 1). "Why make unnecessary laws, if it is already enforced by caring parents?" she asks.

In each and every state (37 prior to Alaska) that has established some sort of a graduated driver's license for young drivers, lives have been saved. Statistics have proven crash rates and fatalities have fallen. This is precisely why the governor signed the legislation that was also supported by Alaska Highway Safety and a top priority for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

While I'm young enough to remember turning 16 and getting my first license within a few days, I'm also realizing now how fortunate I was to not have been another sad statistic. The new restrictions, while understandably inconvenient, are in place for a minimum of six months. This time period was decided after quality discussion and debate in the legislature. Try to think of it as a period to "get your feet wet" without jumping in all the way.

The Legislature also dealt with the issue of "inclement driving." What is inclement driving? Who would be the judge? How would it be measured? Simply put, the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will ask the parent or guardian for their certification that inclement driving along with the total amount of hours behind the wheel have been completed.

Parents and guardians: You are the key to the success of this program. Let's work together to make our roads and highways safe for our children and each other.

Duane Bannock

Director, Division of Motor Vehicles


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