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Stickers for teen drivers silly
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The legislature and governor of New Jersey have lost their collective common sense, which is to say they are politicians. The former passed and the latter signed a law set to take effect in 2010 that will require drivers age 21 and younger to put stickers on the bumpers of their cars letting fellow drivers know they are road hazards. The exact wording of said sticker has not been determined, so allow me to be the first to suggest “Yute.”
The research is unequivocal: Teenage drivers are a generally dangerous bunch. A few supporting facts:
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for American teenagers.
When driver fatality rates are calculated on the basis of estimated annual travel, teen drivers (16- to 19-years-old) have a fatality rate that is about four times higher than the fatality rate among drivers 25 through 69 years old.
Sixty-five percent of teen passenger deaths occur when another teenager is driving.
I have long been a proponent of not letting youngsters acquire driving privileges until two conditions have been satisfied: age 18 and a high school diploma.
Laws extending driving privileges to 16-year-olds were established when cars were far less powerful, roads were far less crowded, and 16-year-olds were far more mature.
Nonetheless, there is no public good to be had by requiring young people to advertise on the bumpers of their cars that they are young. I seriously doubt that other people, so informed, are going to give said drivers wider berth. And if they do, the Law of Unintended Consequences is very likely to kick in. The young driver, having more space around him, may increase his or her speed. Or change lanes. Or take the opportunity to take in the sunset. You get my point, I’m sure.
And if danger to others is the issue, then why require “ageist” bumper stickers only of the younger set? Why not require the other age group that constitutes the second most statistical danger to other drivers — the elderly? Or how about requiring bumper stickers of people who are short, have been diagnosed with psychiatric or sleep disorders, have restless leg syndrome, a child or children in the car with them or use their cell phones while driving?
Imagine the public good of bumper stickers reading “Beware! Narcissist driver!”

Family psychologist John Rosemond answers parents’ questions on his website at
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