Published Thursday, March 21, 2013
Oftentimes, our teenagers claim they have little impact on decisions that impact their lives. Through the years teen drivers have said our adult lawmakers pass laws with little or no input from young people.
Last year, Gov. Nathan Deal decided to do something about the situation. The governor appointed a 22-member, all-teen board from around the state to study and give input to the governor. This Governor’s Commission on Teen Driving is the first of its kind in the United States.
After almost a year of meeting, the group made recommendations this week. Some people found it surprising the teens want tougher laws and regulations than have been imposed by adult lawmakers.
The youngsters recommend tougher penalties for violators of Georgia’s texting-while-driving ban and an overhaul of the states alcohol and drug awareness program.
The teens want harsher penalties for teens who break Georgia’s current law banning motorists from sending text messages and using smartphones while on the road. In addition, the young people say lawmakers should ban hand-held phone use for all Georgia drivers. Such legislation has been talked about but has never come close to being approved by lawmakers.
The teens’ recommendations were presented to lawmakers, advocates for highway safety and public safety leaders.
It appears to us the teens took their work seriously. They were asked to look for strategies that could reduce the number of teen crashes, injuries and fatalities on Georgia’s highways.
Now what happens? Officials in the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety say this is just a first step. We hope the young people’s recommendations do not collect dust of the shelves of lawmakers and public safety officials.
The teens are scheduled to reconvene as a group in the fall. We hope the youngsters demand accountability from the adults who now have the recommendations in their laps.
Good job, young people.