Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« (Video) History of marijuana and why it's illegal | Main | Continuing on my two obsessions that no one else seems to care about . . . »

Monday, November 17, 2008

New teen driving laws are too severe

New laws are going to be introduced in Ontario and since Dalton McGuinty is our Premier, of course they have to be draconian laws. My provincial government will soon be making war against the scourge of teenagers driving multiple friends to the mall. Seriously this is the top priority of the government in the middle of an economic crisis.

There are three proposals that will soon be tabled by the Ontario Liberals to deal with young drivers.

Really this is not needed. You cannot drink even a little and drive before you graduate to your G license. By the time you get your G license you are at least 18. Even then it takes many people longer to get the G because it is a hassle. Perhaps it's because I live in the city, but most of the people I know don't have a G license. So I don't see what is the point of this.

The cost of this is numerous. First of all it makes it harder for older teenagers to explore their Independence. Owning car is not needed for a teenager to feel free from their parents. All that is needed is for a friend to have a car. Road trips, cruising around town, driving to the local mall, and etc. will all become harder for teens to do in groups. Is that really the sort of thing that the government should be spending its time doing? Police patrolling the streets breaking up road trips?

Beyond that social annoyance there is an economic cost for the teenagers. If a teen can't afford a car than their options are limited for employment, especially outside the city. Parents aren't always available to drive them to work. They can get around this by getting co-workers (who are generally also teenagers) or friends to drive them. If there is more than one teenager that needs a drive to work, suddenly this is illegal. That's right, the Liberal government is banning car pooling. You can throw in an environmental cost in their as well.

It wasn't that long ago that I was a teenager, and I think most of us know at least one teenager. It is save to say that they are a people that need things demonstrated before they get the point. When I was 17 I didn't think I would get a speeding ticket until I did. After that I was much more careful. Should I have had to quite my job (I would have to) and end my social life (I grew up in a very rural area) because I was driving a little too fast? Should I not have been given an opportunity to learn from my mistake? Does the calamity of the crime fit the severity of the punishment?

Zero tolerance is a bad policy. Even in the case of killings we don't really have a zero tolerance. We allow people to defend themselves and we allow murders to be reduced to manslaughters. Zero tolerance is like a hammer, and that hammer is coming down on the heads of the youth of Ontario.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on November 17, 2008 in Canadian Provincial Politics | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d834515b5d69e2010535f4a332970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference New teen driving laws are too severe:

Comments

Hugh, I'm in complete agreement with you that McGuinty is an hysterical control freak (they don't call McGuintyan Ontario "Bantario" for nothing), but let's face facts here:

1. If you are below 18, you are forbidden from drinking OR smoking. Unfortunately, a demographic that consumes MARIJUANA at the rate of about 25 per 100 is predictably unfazed by such laws, and routinely does both. Teens are also party animals. It is not therefore unreasonable to give them an added incentive not to drink and drive. If a fine won't deter them, perhaps the potential loss of their license will.

2a. The government does not owe teens the opportunity to "explore their independence." Really this is not far removed from expecting the government to give you a life if you decide the one you have sucks. Studies have shown that a car full of energetic young teens can be a big distraction, and that's the last thing a new driver needs.

2b. I took the bus to work until I was 36. Also, Toronto has a pretty decent transit system (when it isn't on strike). To say that there is no alternative to having your own car or access to someone else's isn't really true, is it? That said, the Liberals are already in hot water for their stance on car pooling.

3. I have to agree with you on this one; everybody speeds. Including cops. The question is by how much. Doing 10-20 over the limit is both common and expected, and cops will usually leave you alone, especially if you're merely keeping up with traffic. Gross speeeding, such as street racing, is a bona fide danger and people of ANY age caught doing this should be pulled over, their cars confiscated, their license revoked, and for three days be forced to ride a tricycle up and down Bay Street with a slab clamped around his neck reading "I AM A STREET RACER. I'M AN IDIOT. I HEAR VOICES AND DO WHAT THEY COMMAND. I HAVE RAISINS IN MY BRAINCASE.

4. True; zero tolerance is really a tool for lazy administrators who don't want to have to consider the facts of a case before making a decision. That said, the penalties for serious infractions (such as dangerous driving causing death) could certainly use beefing up. Say, to the gallows.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-17 8:09:46 AM


Highway traffic laws often seem like one area where even many committed libertarians bend to concern for public safety, rightly in my opinion. It's become a cliché to say that driving is a priviledge, not a right, but it needs to be said from time to time. On the other hand, I would be much happier with laws that restrict the priviledges of new drivers if they included explicit allowances for those in rural areas who need to drive vehicles in order to help out on the family farm, and such. Perhaps a special "young worker" classification which would loosen SOME of the rules for young drivers WHEN they are behind the wheel as part of their employment.

Posted by: Anonymous | 2008-11-17 9:07:11 AM


I never said that the government owes the youth a right to "explore their independence." At the same time I don't see a reason why government should restrict their actions to this degree. I mention this just to explain why I feel that this would significant to a teenager.

Toronto transit system is alright. But there is more to this province than Toronto. I grew up in Sutton Ontario, across form a sheep farm and next to a goat farm. It would literally take me two hours to walk to the closest bus station. Even then the bus runs only four times a day. Owning a car or having my parents driving me were my only two options if I wanted to get a job and pay for University. Because my parents work long hours, often I only had one option. Losing my license really would have had a large long term negative effect on my life.

I agree in general principle that penalties for serious infractions should be higher.

Posted by: hughmacintyre | 2008-11-17 9:08:22 AM


One more thing Shane,

The no alchohol for teens is what I have the least problem with. I just think the graduated system we have now does the job well enough. I'll wait to see what the actual legislation is before passing final judgement on that portion.

Posted by: hughmacintyre | 2008-11-17 9:13:22 AM


Absolutely no tolerance for alcohol while driving, no excuses.

As for the speeding, they need to keep a close eye on the young drivers, don't assume they get it, hammer it in as often as possible they're responsible for not only themselves but others when they drive a car, a privilege that comes with great responsibilities. As new drivers they are not experienced to drive at higher speeds in the first place, let alone worrying about breaking the speed limits.

Posted by: Liz J | 2008-11-17 9:40:04 AM


Hugh,
You couldn't have summed up this one better!
If - as I suspect - you're a young conservative your bang-on analysis is doubly praise-worthy!
This is typical Pinocchio regime knee-jerk, shot gun approach totalitarianism identical to the consciencious citizens who make up the vast majority of dog-owners being effectively punished by McGuinty's so-called 'breed ban' law.
Leftists love stuff like this because it avoids two things they vehemently oppose: individual responsibility & personal accountability.
Plus, as tarring all with the same brush is - by definition - grossly inefficient, it's an approach which creates more needless jobs for their pals in the public sector unions.

Posted by: G. M. MacLean | 2008-11-17 9:42:52 AM


2b. I took the bus to work until I was 36. Also, Toronto has a pretty decent transit system (when it isn't on strike). To say that there is no alternative to having your own car or access to someone else's isn't really true, is it? That said, the Liberals are already in hot water for their stance on car pooling.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 17-Nov-08 8:09:46 AM

You obviously grew up in a city. There were no buses where I grew up, and driving anywhere (even into town, which had a whopping 3600 people) required a half hour commitment. If I was 17 and wanted to pick up some friends to have a sleep over, it might now require me to make 3 half hour trips to pick up three friends, then drop them off to sit at my parents' house while I get the next friend. This is not a small burden for people who don't live in Toronto. If you are distracted by a bunch of friends acting like idiots and cause an accident, isn't that reckless driving? We already a pretty steep penalty for that - just enforce it.

As for "2a," we are producing college graduates who are *children* with no sense of responsibility, and then wondering why they never move out of mom and dad's basement. Certainly we don't have an obligation to make sure teens are able to explore their independence, but at the same time the answer is not to baby them even further into what ought to be early adulthood.

Posted by: Janet | 2008-11-17 9:47:27 AM


"A ban on more than one teenage passenger"

Plain stupid and runs in the opposite direction of recent green initiatives.

The upside is that these teenagers will soon become voters and this could severely damage the Liberal brand in Ontario.

Posted by: Speller | 2008-11-17 9:53:05 AM


Hugh,

1. The reason for the restriction on teenage passengers is already given--they're boisterous and often a big distraction. Talking on a handheld cellphone is a piece of cake compared to driving with a car full of hormonal teens.

2. True; I grew up in Nanaimo, where there wasn't much transit to speak of either. Curiously enough, though, there were these quaint two-wheeled vehicles that required neither license nor insurance to drive. They're called "bicycles" and would be ideal for the flat terrain you describe. Me, I had to pedal up two hundred vertical metres. And today, unlike thirty years ago, bicycles are actually cool, especially the heavy-framed mountain bikes.

3. If losing your license would have had such a profound effect on your life, one would think that would provide you with encouragement to drive more carefully and obey the law. Come to think of it, isn't that the point? I understand that it must seem unfair, but keep in mind these rules are aimed at a cohort known for lawlessness. It is not the government's fault that teenagers behave the way they do, nor that they have less experience on the roads than anyone else. Licensing requirements in Europe are stricter still, by far, and look at all the cars over there.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-17 10:03:55 AM


Perhaps a special "young worker" classification which would loosen SOME of the rules for young drivers WHEN they are behind the wheel as part of their employment.

Posted by: Anonymous | 17-Nov-08 9:07:11 AM

How on *Earth* would you enforce that?

Libertarians do, in general (in my experience anyway) have few problems with driving laws. They legitimately keep people safe.

That said, one way to solve all road safety problems would be to force us all to walk everywhere. Obviously this isn't acceptable - we're willing to accept some risk for the huge benefit of being able to drive. Acceptance of the need for some laws doesn't extend to an acceptance of stupid laws like these ones.

Posted by: Janet | 2008-11-17 10:04:03 AM


Unfortunately, Speller, young people are pretty lazy when it comes to voting.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-17 10:04:32 AM


Once again the lefties are out to save the day, meanwhile, everything else is falling apart. It seems not a week gos by without hearing about what Dalton is going to ban next. Rest assured, Dalton is there to protect you. to spoonfeed you, to change your diapers, coz after all, we can't take care of ourselves...apparently

Posted by: seven star | 2008-11-17 10:06:29 AM


Janet,

2b. Never, never, NEVER use the word “obviously” in a debate. It not only weakens your argument, but saves you some embarrassment when your assumption is revealed to be in error, as I am about to do. I grew up in Nanaimo, which by Ontarian standards can by no stretch of the imagination be called a “city.” Buses ran once an hour. Before I had access to a car, I rode a bicycle. And, as has been observed elsewhere, you are not owed the means to facilitate “sleepovers” or other social gatherings. Lastly, having raucous passengers is not reckless driving, a charge when can be levied only against the driver. And a teen anxious to keep his friends is not likely to lay down the law, even when he should.

2a. College in and of itself is a major cause of arrested development among young adults, because it allows many of them to avoid the real world and party for four years after their high-school graduation. Today’s universities are also stacked with relics from the Quiet Revolution and the Psychedelic Sixties with ambitious young teaching assistants who further radicalize the students or, at the least, do nothing to prevent them from radicalizing each other in the absence of adult supervision. And this happens with or without graduated licensing.

P.S. Any particular reason you listed b) before a)?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-17 10:12:39 AM


I agree McGuinty is on a serious "banwagon," Seven Star. His type wants to ban everything that isn't compulsory. That said, these new laws don't place serious restrictions on a teenager's ability to drive for his livelihood. They mostly place restrictions on his ability to take on more than experience has shown teens can safely handle. This is an important distinction. It's like being allowed to own firearms for sporting or even defence purposes, but not being allowed to keep a loaded handgun under your front seat so you can "send a message" to the guy who just cut you off.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-17 10:21:31 AM


Lawlessness? Come on Shane we are talking about speeding. If you always drive the speed limit then you are the only person I know that does so, and I really wish you'd get off the road. More often than not getting a speeding ticket is matter of luck more than anything else.

If not doing my homework meant that I would be put up against a wall and shot, then I certainly would have had an incentive to do my homework. That isn't the point. You have to balance the harm a punishment does to the harm of the action. Speeding, 99.9% of the time does no harm. So why punish it so brutally?

Yes being a teenager with your friends in the car is distracting. But you can't just say, "Bad...zap there it's gone." You have to consider the consequences of this zap.

My sister was supportive of this passanger ban until I pointed out to her all the times I drove her and her friends when we were younger. Doing a favor for her (and really my parents too) would have been against the law. Now you cannot tell me that this isn't absurd.

Posted by: hughmacintyre | 2008-11-17 10:21:53 AM


"They mostly place restrictions on his ability to take on more than experience has shown teens can safely handle."

Shane who are you to judge what someone else can and cannot handle? More importantly who is the government to make this judgement? You cannot simply judge an entire demographic as if they were a single stereotype.

Biking everywhere was not an option for me. For one thing it is impossible to bike on these roads safely in the winter. Secondly to get from Sutton to New Market (which was where the jobs were) would have taken the entire day. These laws will do real harm; far more harm than good.

Posted by: hughmacintyre | 2008-11-17 10:34:15 AM


"young people are pretty lazy when it comes to voting."

Yeah, but the lesson won't be lost on them.

As for the "speeding is lawlessness", I call B.S.

Police base their budgets on money they intend to reap through speeding tickets, the annual number of speeding tickets either grows or is static depending on the weather and how much effort police put into setting up speed traps, and insurance companies have statistics indicating that speed is not a significant factor in accidents.

In the end, it isn't the speed of the general traffic on a stretch of road that causes collisions when speed IS a factor but the DIFFERENCE in speed between the two vehicles in a situation.
(as long as there are no minimum speed limits the disparity of speed between vehicles can be large)

Posted by: Speller | 2008-11-17 10:42:59 AM


>>2b. Never, never, NEVER use the word “obviously” in a debate. It not only weakens your argument, but saves you some embarrassment when your assumption is revealed to be in error, as I am about to do. I grew up in Nanaimo, which by Ontarian standards can by no stretch of the imagination be called a “city.”<<

As crushed both I and my argument are by the realization that you grew up in Nanaimo, I will somehow soldier on and point out why this still makes no sense. First of all, Nanaimo is a city.

But don't worry, there's more:

>>Buses ran once an hour. Before I had access to a car, I rode a bicycle.<<

Cities have buses. Sometimes they are infrequent, but they have them. I did not live in a city. There were no buses. Riding a bike for several hours on two-lane unlit highways would not have been safer than carpooling with teens.

>>And, as has been observed elsewhere, you are not owed the means to facilitate “sleepovers” or other social gatherings.<<

No, but as has been observed elsewhere, you have to measure the harm vs. the benefits. We could stop all car accidents by stopping all driving - we don't because the costs are too high. These rules constitute significant social and economic harm for people who are or have teenagers and it ought to be condemned as unacceptable.

Maybe sleepovers aren't the best example, but they aren't a bad one, either, because what the teenagers are doing has almost nothing to do with anything. What teenagers (or anyone else) are doing with their drive should have nothing to do with whether or not the drive is allowed.

>>Lastly, having raucous passengers is not reckless driving, a charge when can be levied only against the driver. And a teen anxious to keep his friends is not likely to lay down the law, even when he should.<<

If the *driver* can't handle it, they oughtn't be driving, and the alone ought to be punished for trying. Plenty of people out there can handle moron passengers (case in point: designated drivers) and we shouldn't externalize the costs of those who can't onto them.

>>2a.<<
There are a lot of reasons that we aren't producing normal, well adjusted responsible human beings. Obviously these still theoretical laws are not part of them - I simply suggested that we shouldn't exacerbate the problem by babying teens even further.

>>P.S. Any particular reason you listed b) before a)?<<
I didn't see any particular significance to the ordering, so it didn't occur to me that I ought to preserve it.

Posted by: Janet | 2008-11-17 10:55:52 AM


What pisses me off is that this law has been lobbied by a man whose son was breaking the laws already in place! If these new laws were in place when his son was still alive, does he think that he would have followed them?

I'm center-left, but even I can see this is silly. If the kid was following the law and got killed, he may have a just argument. Instead, his son is dead. Maybe if this douche stepped up to his parenting roles rather than expecting a nanny state to do it for him his son would still be alive and young people everywhere wouldn't be punished for his son's stupidity!

Posted by: Ben | 2008-11-17 10:56:00 AM


"Today’s universities are also stacked with relics from the Quiet Revolution and the Psychedelic Sixties with ambitious young teaching assistants who further radicalize the students or, at the least, do nothing to prevent them from radicalizing each other"

I just had to respond to this, Shane. Not because I think you're wrong: in my experience, especially with Canadian universities, you're perfectly correct.

But man, you should meet some of the conservative students here in Ohio. The most radical student I ever had was a guy who wanted to blow Iraq to bits with low-level nuclear weapons. That's a different kind of radicalism than what you probably had in mind :-).

He did admit he could talk to me more than he could to most instructors, because I was willing to hear him out, instead of reacting with left-wing outrage. If I had any influence on him at all, it was probably to moderate him just a bit.

In the end, I think he agreed that nuking Iraq might not be worth the cost.

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2008-11-17 12:03:47 PM


That guy was military. Typically, I love my military students, including that one.

Then there was the time I played -- or thought I played -- devil's advocate, in favor of legalizing and regulating the use of torture. It turned out, most of my students were already okay with it. I wasn't playing devil's advocate at all!

At that moment, I kind of wished I was one of those idealistic instructors who fill the heads of their students with useless liberal bromides.

Kind of. But it was nice to be able to discuss coercive interrogation techniques without people freaking out in fake moral outrage.

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2008-11-17 12:09:42 PM


Hugh wrote: “1. Lawlessness? Come on Shane we are talking about speeding…”

1. No, we’re talking about a demographic that commits bona fide crimes far out of proportion to their numbers and is hard-wired for defiance of authority and the rules that authority imposes. A 16-year-old requires a firmer hand, all other things being equal, than a 60-year-old. That is what I meant by “lawlessness.” With regards to speeding, everybody does it, including me. (I think I said that already.) But getting a ticket is seldom a matter of bad luck. Most often it’s because you’re travelling conspicuously faster than traffic. By the way, what you wish for is unimportant to anyone but you, and best left out of debate.

2. And I have, because as I have already demonstrated, these new rules do not substantially harm a teenager’s ability to drive for his livelihood. That’s not the same as agreeing with their harshness; on the contrary, I am deeply suspicious of anything McGuinty endorses. The man is shallow, vain, weasely, cowardly, and naïve. The man’s a maggot. However, if you intend to challenge this law solely based on undue hardship, you have so far not put up much of a case.

3. And those consequences are minimal, except perhaps to your social life, which is of no importance whatever to anyone but you. If you want to challenge law you must do better than such trifles.

4. Bad cases do make for bad law, and the whole story about this grieving father and the premier weeping together on the phone was pretty schmaltzy. As I said, I don’t necessarily agree with these new laws. My point is that in order to challenge them you’re going to have to bring more to the table than “I can’t drive my sister to the slumber party three towns over any more.” So far, your protests have all been about you. And selfishness, even the perception of selfishness, is a big turn-off and in no way constitutes an argument, for or against, anything.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-17 12:40:51 PM


P.S. You'd have a better argument if you stated that family members should be exempt from the passenger limitations normally imposed on a teen driver. Taking your kid sister to school is an easier sell than taking nine of your friends to a rave. In a Mini. You've got to learn what sells, man. That's the key to politics.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-17 12:45:31 PM


1. Who are you to say what they can handle? Using your logic, we’d let “responsible” five-year-olds behind the wheel. After all, who is the government to set a minimum age for driving on the Queen’s highway?

2. So move to Newmarket and room with a couple friends until you are doing well enough to afford your own place. Why work where the jobs are, but reside where the jobs aren’t? Failing that, Sutton and Newmarket are connected by Go Bus. The government does not owe you support for your choice of lifestyle, Hugh. And this is where your arguments fail.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-17 1:01:04 PM


1. No Shane we are talking about speeding. Even the best most well behaved teens speed. If you are concerned about the general trend of increased criminal activity for young adults. We can talk about that, but I do not see how that is an argumnet for these proposals.

2. You haven't demonstrated that. All you said was that it wouldn't have hurt you specifically. I can tell you that it will damage in my area.

3. Why do you dismiss this concern? Do you not think that socially active teens develop into healthier adults? The state shouldn't do anything to encourage social life, but why should it act to discourage it?

4. I use my own experiance as an example because I thought it would be more relatable than a hypothetical situation. But I don't think you should dismiss the examples so easily. These are every day problems of "how do I get from point A to point B" that the government want's to make harder. As far as I can see there is little reason for this. It shouldn't be up to me to say why there shouldn't be a law, it is up to the propenants to say why there should be a law. As someone already pointed out the existing laws didn't work because they weren't obeyed. How would these laws work better? How will the world be a better place? Is it really worth it?

PS. That wouldn't make my argument better because that is not what I'm arguing. I don't want there to be exceptions to a law that I don't want to exist. And why can't I take my kid sister to a rave and drive my friends to school?

Posted by: hughmacintyre | 2008-11-17 1:14:44 PM


Janet,

1. Nanaimo is a small city now; it was a collection of towns when I grew up there, and I grew up on the outskirts, a half hour’s walk from the nearest bus stop, which was serviced once an hour. I also walked home from school every day, some four kilometres (no buses), rain or shine or snow, up the side of a mountain. Clichéd but also true, in my case. No sympathy.

2. “Several hours”? Don’t tell me—you lived in Sutton and worked on Bay Street, just like Hugh.

3. That’s the beauty of preventing unnecessary teen driving—teens contribute very little to the economy, and far more than their share of accidents, often due to the behaviours these laws aim to curb. “Social harm”? Sorry, I call bullshit. I grew up where there were barely any other kids my age and so learned to amuse myself rather than rely on raves and joyrides. I’ll understand if you think that for a teen such an existence would be unthinkable. But I won’t sympathize.

4. Actually, what the teenagers are doing has everything to do with an objection raised to this law based on the harm it’s supposedly doing. On the one hand, you say they should be able to drive anywhere, anytime, for anything; on the other hand, you’re trying to build a case showing the “harm” being done. Being from a rural locale I presume you know what a weathervane is…

5. Janet, *I* can’t handle moron passengers, and more to the point, there are few who can, because they’re *always* distracting, and distractions are the last thing a driver needs, especially a green one. If I had an annoying passenger I’d savagely punt him to the curb and maybe back over him a couple of times for good measure, but most teens don’t have that kind of sense. Moreover, most adults don’t behave badly enough while passengers to be considered distractions.

6. Preventing teens from doing dumb things is not babying them, unless it’s taken to an absurd degree. Maybe we should remove the “danger: high voltage” signs from transmission towers too?

7. Spoken like a true anarchist. Answering in order makes the follow-up answer easier to structure. Let me guess—you’re the kind of person who saves scads of money by buying dictionaries that are not in alphabetical order.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-17 1:17:14 PM


1. There is a clear difference between a 5 year old and a 16 year old. I don't think that anyone has trouble making the distinction. So stop with the staw man stuff.

2. I'm not asking the government to subsidies my life style. I'm asking the government not to attack it. (I won't go into the reasons why a 17 year old renting a house with other 17 year olds doesn't work)

Posted by: hughmacintyre | 2008-11-17 1:22:05 PM


1. "it was a collection of towns when I grew up there, and I grew up on the outskirts, a half hour’s walk from the nearest bus stop, which was serviced once an hour."

- Well Shane I am a 17 year old teenager, I live in the middle of nowhere and I once biked to school, it took me 2 hours. A 30 minute walk is nothing my oldest friend use to live a 30 min walk from my house. If I were to bike to my work it would take me 45minutes. There are also absolutely no busses near me, again a 2hour bike ride to the nearest buss stop.


3. "I grew up where there were barely any other kids my age and so learned to amuse myself rather than rely on raves and joyrides."

-Where do you get your information? I have never been to a rave, I have never been drunk, and I most certainly have never been on a 'joyride'. I am one of the few people in my social group with a car available and a G2 licence. I do not find that having a couple friends in the car with me distracting. What I do find distracting are the terrible middle age drivers on the road. The only times I have been scared of getting in an accident are when middle aged drivers drive recklessly.


5. "If I had an annoying passenger I’d savagely punt him to the curb and maybe back over him a couple of times for good measure, but most teens don’t have that kind of sense. Moreover, most adults don’t behave badly enough while passengers to be considered distractions."

-This is deffinitely not true. Teenagers are no more distracting than adults. Teenagers understand that when you are navigating a highway that you might want some quiet. So it is quite easy to end any discussions for tricky driving. Adults on the other hand are much older so personally I don't like telling them to shut up. Call it whatever you want but I respect my elders.


6. "Preventing teens from doing dumb things is not babying them, unless it’s taken to an absurd degree. Maybe we should remove the “danger: high voltage” signs from transmission towers too?"

-First off you seem to be taking this discussion rather personally. Limitting the freedoms of teen drivers can be considered at best 'babysitting' them. Also you should know that preventing teens from doing something only makes them want to do it even more. Teenagers aren't allowed to drink, take drugs, and smoke. But they do it anyways. Stupid people will do stupid things. But you cannot claim that teenagers are the only stupid people out there. Teenagers arent even that stupid they are just for the most part rebellious. We are expected to have the maturity of adults, and we are supposed to know what we want for the rest of our lives. But we are not treated like adults. If you expect us to act like adults then you should at least treat us like adults.

7. "Spoken like a true anarchist. Answering in order makes the follow-up answer easier to structure. Let me guess—you’re the kind of person who saves scads of money by buying dictionaries that are not in alphabetical order."

-That makes absolutely no sense. If you are going to debate you should debate. Not insult someone's method of debate. Also for future reference do not make judgements of an entire age group when you yourself have not been that age in a while. Times change.

Posted by: Xanthia | 2008-11-17 2:06:27 PM


Shane, I grew up on Vancouver Island too and when I was a teen we went to parties every weekend. One of us was a designated driver while we fit as many into each car as seatbelts. A lot less than half of of us had cars and some of them who did never drank alcohol anyway so they enjoyed driving. To have one car for every two of us would have been a very bad idea as there would be way more young drivers on the road with a higher percentage of them driving drunk.
As for teenagers contributing little to the economy, that is simply not true. They are in every retail outlet in every mall. You should know this growing up in Nanaimo, a word meaning "too many malls." To get them all to ride their bikes to work, school, or to a party just like you did is just mean. You can't do that here when there's snow all winter like you can in Nanaimo where you can easily ride your bike year round. And it is illegal for parents to host parties where teens are drinking or smoking up so they will go elsewhere.
I agree with you that teens have more energy than adults. I know that when I was a teen I had very fast reaction times and that saved me and my car full of teens on at least one occasion.
And another thing, when I was in my twenties I continually got asked for my ID and they never believed I was old enough because I looked so young. How are teens supposed to keep high respect for police if they are constantly being hassled for breaking bad laws? Police will use this law like this. If there are four young people seen in a car driving together, maybe they are in a gang. Let's stop them just to check their ID's, ask them where they are going, or just see if they are teenagers driving together illegally.

Posted by: Lindy | 2008-11-17 2:45:04 PM


Hugh,

1. Everyone speeds. I’ve said it three times. That’s another problem with teens—their inability to receive information from anything not plugged in. I did not equate speeding with lawlessness. I said only that teens require a firmer hand (and firmer rules) than adults who are in general much more responsible and less hormone-saturated. Speeding is just one of many laws they are more apt to break.

2. Damage it, or inconvenience it? There is Go Bus service in your area, is there not?

3. Because it’s not a necessity. However, it’s not what *I* dismiss that ought to concern you. It’s how the government would respond to any challenges to this law you might care to make. It is them you have to convince. And they’re going to give you the same answer: Your social life is no concern of ours.

4. Anecdotes (personal experiences) make for poor debate. They’re unscientific and very often biased. You apparently think that these rules are intended to control you, manipulate you and ruin your life. That is not their intent, nor is it likely to be their result. Too many teen passengers, from what I understand, was not a factor in the crash that precipitated this law. That doesn’t make the proposed laws necessary, or even desirable—I’ve already conceded that. But you won’t convince anyone with what amounts to whining.

5. The fact that you don’t want the law to exist is irrelevant. If you want the law NOT to exist, you have to come up with a better reason than the fact that you don’t want the law to resist. Because there are others who do, and absent convincing arguments on either side, neither viewpoint is better than the other.

I’m not against you on this, Hugh. Not for you, but not against you either. I’m merely pointing out the flaws in your arguments so you can fix them, and I’m doing it for free. Your opponents in this are far less sympathetic, far less reasonable, and again, it is them you have to convince. So stop taking everything so damn personally, get the annoying whine out of your voice, and put some spit and polish on those arguments. If you're going to lose anyway, then at least lose because the other guy is the fuckup, not you.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-17 2:51:35 PM


YEAH XANTHIA!!! YOU ROOL!

Posted by: Lindy | 2008-11-17 2:55:18 PM


Thanks Lindy, you made good points too. Let's see what Shane says in response.

Posted by: Xanthia | 2008-11-17 3:06:54 PM


Xanthia wrote: “1. Well Shane I am a 17 year old teenager, I live in the middle of nowhere…”

1. And as I understand these new laws, they will not impede your ability to commute to work. Next.

3. What you “find” is not likely to impress the backers of this law, Xanthia, assuming you’re being perfectly candid, a trait found in few adults, and fewer teenagers. Middle-aged drivers (i.e., “parents”) may be bad drivers in your eyes, but it is teenagers like you, along with the elderly, who cause the most accidents. STATISTICAL FACT.

5. Excuse me, I have been both a teenager AND an adult, whereas you have only been one of those things. I know what teenagers are like, I know what adults are like, and the government knows, too. So do the insurance companies, the statisticians, the police, the courts, the ambulance crews, the…well, you get the idea. Anyone who wants to argue that teens are no louder and more disruptive than adults in general is going to get laughed out of town. Teenagers understand little except their baser impulses. The subtlety that leads to an appreciation of such trivialities as being incinerated in an overturned car come only with experience, a good many years of it. Not one teen I ever knew didn’t think he was immortal, invulnerable, invincible.

6. *I* am taking this discussion personally??? Perhaps you should review your own post, and see just how much there is of you, and your resentment, in it. Laws, by their nature, limit freedom, and in that sense, babysit everyone. However, laws that prohibit driving drunk or leaving a loaded shotgun behind the kitchen door also save lives. Against this, you plead…loss of social life? Puh-leez.

6b. Yes, I know that teens do things they’re not allowed to do. Hence my remark that they require a firmer hand than adults. Hence the reasoning behind this entire sequence of laws. Stupidity occurs at any age, but statistics don’t lie—it seems to happen among teens the most. Teen rebelliousness IS stupidity, by the way, because it means inciting conflict where none need exist, to no one’s profit and everyone’s grief, the teen’s included. You are not truly expected to behave like adults; you cannot enter contracts, own homes, or vote. You are simply expected not to behave like children. Do you think you can handle that?

7. Criticizing someone’s poor debating skills is part of debate; technique, the arguments themselves, are fair game. Furthermore, human nature NEVER changes—has not changed in the last hundred thousand years or more—so don’t tell me that there is some new species of teen that is new, improved, and oh, so TOTALLY not what teens were like when I was one of them. Adolescents are rash, reckless, defiant, rebellious, insecure, self-righteous, energetic, and emotionally frail. This doesn’t make them bad people. It does make them unpredictable. They have not yet “grown into their skin.” They have just gone through a startling psychological and physical metamorphosis in the span of a few years, have yet to fully appreciate the significance of newfound thoughts and feelings, and are loaded with hormones. It was true in 1988, and it is true today. Times change; biology doesn’t.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-17 3:14:55 PM


i think this is RIDICULOUS.
the new laws are out of control.. and someones on a HUGE power trip. it is total discrimination to have only zero tolerance of speeding for young people.. why should it matter how old you are ? speeding is speeding.. and its so annoying how they generalize all young people to be vandalizing, trouble-causing, street racers. im 17 and i recently got my g2.. yeah i speed every once in a while.. i take a few friends out to lunch a few times a week to get a break from being stuck in school all day.. but im a RESPONSABLE DRIVER ! i would NEVER drink and drive.. i dont blare my music and have crazy conversations with my friends while im supposed to be watching the road. why should i be penalized for something that maybe a small fraction of teen drivers are actually doing ? i car pool with a few friends to get to work.. and im from a VERY small town so theres not such thing as public transit here. because of these outrageous laws me and my peers are sopposed to quit our jobs ? im not even going to mention how disgusting their lack of regard for the environment is. ban carpooling and help pollute the earth even more.. now THERES a bright idea.

shane you generalize all young people into one big category.. and its really not fair at all. i have no idea where you get these ideas of young people all being too lazy to vote and crazy wreckless drivers. ive seen more wreckless MIDDLE AGED drivers then i can count on my fingers. but forunately... i demonstrate heads up behaviour even though im a, dare i say it, young driver, and yeah.. ive avoided collisions countless times when ignorant older people cut me off.

i still cant belive any of this.

Posted by: Tayler | 2008-11-17 3:18:36 PM


Lindy wrote: “1. Shane, I grew up on Vancouver Island too and when I was a teen we went to parties every weekend. One of us was a designated driver while we fit as many into each car as seatbelts...”

1. Translation: You broke the law every weekend. Well, good on you. It is this kind of teen behaviour that prompts adults to be more strict with them. Arguing that more of you would have been “forced” to break the law with restrictions on teen passengers is actually rather pathetic.

2. It’s just “mean”? Well, pardon me all over the place for being the biggest asshole in Christendom. That I should have the savage cruelty, the unbounded viciousness, the hideous and unmitigated gall to suggest that those without cars should have to take transit, walk, or bike ride, even though adults without cars have to take transit, walk, or bike ride, puts me right up there with Papa Stalin and der Fuhrer, doesn’t it? Lady, I lived on Mount Benson, and believe me, it snows. My community college was on a hill, and when it snowed our botany prof came to work on cross-country skis while I trudged myself hither in rubber boots. Fell through the ice a good many times.

3. Better reaction times, but less experience and less discipline. Tell me this—if teens’ reaction times are better, along with their eyesight and hearing (all true), then why are they the most likely to be in a crash?

4. Teen respect for the police is irrelevant—the law is the law and they will obey it or take the consequence. It’s not an excuse for adults who don’t respect the law, so why should it be an excuse for teens? It’s not up to the Man to earn teen respect; it’s up to the teens to earn the respect of their elders and prove that they are worthy to be counted among them. That’s called growing up. By the way, it sounds like you still have issues with the police yourself. Exactly how long ago were you a teen?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-17 3:26:48 PM


Lindy wrote: "YEAH XANTHIA!!! YOU ROOL!"

Not a non-teen for very long, apparently...

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-17 3:29:08 PM


Tayler wrote: “1. i think this is RIDICULOUS.”

1. I keep telling you knuckleheads that it does not matter two fucks what you THINK. It only matters what you can PROVE. Now get cracking.

2. Out of control? Perhaps. Power trip? Huge. It does have McGuinty’s stamp on it, after all. Discrimination? Yes, in the sense that a discriminating buyer looks for history of ownership when buying a painting, thus discriminating against the ones that may have checkered pasts, but not the unconstitutional kind of discrimination. Why should age matter? Because experience matters, at least if you crunch the numbers instead of spending all your time defending your rights. You’re 17? I’d never have guessed. You speed? Everyone speeds. You hate school? Everybody hates school, Dilton Doiley notwithstanding. You’re a responsible driver? Perhaps, but your also inexperienced and much more likely to have a crash than I. I own guns, but I’m not allowed to pack them on the street, because a small fraction of gun owners shoot people, even if I don’t. And a little extra greenhouse gas is small potatoes next to people actually dying.

3. There’s nothing discriminatory in examining trends. I don’t say all young people are lawbreakers or irresponsible, although Lindy freely admits to being a scofflaw as a teen, although like you, she doesn’t see what that should matter. At 17, you couldn’t vote if you tried—and it has been shown that older people vote much more faithfully than younger people, who often don’t bother. It has also been shown that teen drivers, even more so than new adult drivers, get into more crashes per capita than anyone else. STATISTICAL FACT. I don’t know what it will take to convince you guys that I am not making this up.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-17 3:40:03 PM


"Criticizing someone’s poor debating skills is part of debate; technique, the arguments themselves, are fair game."

-Technique is all fine and dandy. But in all seriousness you have not pulled up any facts, statistics, or personal events that prove your point. I used my personnal experience as a teen. If you want I can go into elaborate detail of all the times middle age drivers have cut me off. Or who have tried to pass and nearly crash into me.

"Furthermore, human nature NEVER changes—has not changed in the last hundred thousand years or more—so don’t tell me that there is some new species of teen that is new, improved, and oh, so TOTALLY not what teens were like when I was one of them."

-Unless you have been alive for the past 100,000 years you cannot say that they have not changed. A few hundred years ago I would already be married with kids, and I would be expected to run a household. Also if we have not evolved in the past 100,000 years then I feel sorry for our race.


"Adolescents are rash, reckless, defiant, rebellious, insecure, self-righteous, energetic, and emotionally frail."

-I don't know what you were like as a child but I know for a fact that I am not rash or reckless. The only time I have defied my parents is when I have not finished my homework. I am not a rebellious person, I like to go with the flow. I am not any more insecure than an adult. I do not feel self-rightious. Also since when has being energetic been a crime? Again I don't know what kind of teenager you were but I am not emotionally frail at all.

"They have not yet “grown into their skin.” They have just gone through a startling psychological and physical metamorphosis in the span of a few years, have yet to fully appreciate the significance of newfound thoughts and feelings, and are loaded with hormones. It was true in 1988, and it is true today. Times change; biology doesn’t."

-Well I don't know how late a bloomer you were but I began the 'metamorphosis' when I was 8 years old. I stopped growing physically when I was 11. Biologically children are going through 'metamorphosis' at an earlier age. So therefore biology does change. Sure teenagers have hormones. But so do menopausal women, men going through their midlife crisis, and 'roid users. Even most healthy adults have a healthy dose of hormones.

Posted by: Xanthia | 2008-11-17 3:42:19 PM


Xanthia,

1. The facts and statistics abound for anyone who cares to look. Google “teen driving statistics” and be humbled and chagrined. Personal anecdotes do not constitute valid proofs so I include them only when I want to show what is possible, not what it typical or desirable. Statistics don’t lie, unless there are errors in calculation or compilation. Can you prove either?

2. Xanthia, much of human nature is mirrored in the behaviour of lower animals like wolves, bears, and deer. Humans, like animals, are inherently selfish, and the young of any species are known for cockiness, overconfidence, and a willingness to take on a whim chances that an older individual would take after only careful reflection, if at all. Anthropologists can deduce human nature from studying the remains of Palaeolithic cultures and, in the case of classical culture, the remains of settlements and even documents that have survived the ages. Teens centuries ago were more mature because they had to be, and got the rod if they were not. You don’t strike me as mature enough to run a household. It looks like teens are headed in the wrong direction if they want respect.

3. You “know” you are not rash or reckless? Ah yes, youth, which is always so certain of everything. No room for doubts or self-reflection; you’re perfect just the way you are. And even if this is true of you, it does not mean that such behaviour is not more common among teens by a wide enough margin to make it the basis of prudent policy. You are not the world—another concept teens have trouble with. And how would you know how secure you are compared with an adult, never having been one? Hah. You are angry and I am not; look at our respective tones. Your passions are easily aroused; you have not learned to mask them nor understand sober reflection. And your passions provide you with all the justification for anything you feel you need. Your emotions, by themselves, justify nothing.

4. You stopped growing taller, but your body continued to develop until you were about twenty. Bones were still fusing, sexual organs were still maturing, muscle mass was still increasing. (I studied biology; I know these things.) Your hormones don’t truly settle down until your mid- to late twenties. Menopausal women, by the way, do NOT have hormones; it is a drop in hormones that causes menopause. Mid-life crisis in men is more of an intellectual crossroads than a change in endocrinology. And older people have a more mature and educated brain better able to curb the promptings of the hormones that remain.

But, in the end, it doesn't matter what I say to you here today. Take my word for it or not, as you see fit. In twenty years or so you'll understand what I mean.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-17 4:05:08 PM


There is a reason we have a LEGAL blood alcohol limit. The liberals latest garbage legislation aimed at drivers involving both this issue and the use of cell phones are perfect example of the do-gooder methodology that gets nothing done except cause undo stresses on regular citizens. People die Dalton, especially people like Mulcahy who split 31 drinks with his moron friends and then got behind the wheel. This accident had nothing do with the age of driver or passengers, and the last time I checked if you have 31 drinks you are probably going to blow over the current legal limit. Stop pretending that some hand waving and overzealous legislation will make the roads safer and do some real work!

Posted by: ryan | 2008-11-17 4:08:23 PM


Ahh the ignorance of adulthood. I actually am not getting emotional at all right now. I am having a blast. If it helps my case in your eyes you should know that people have been mistaking me for an adult since I was 12. Something about looking like an adult and acting like one. I don't know though, you are the expert at adulthood. In about two month I will legally be an adult. Do you think that I will suddenly 'see the light' and believe that what you say is true?

Posted by: Xanthia | 2008-11-17 4:09:52 PM


Shane, you say I broke the law, called me a scofflaw. So what laws did I say I broke? You said you speed regularly. You have nothing to say other than to try to condescendingly tell people how to argue and make points and that they aren't allowed to talk about themselves when they do it. You also make bad assumptions, overgeneralizations and judgements about teenagers and you've made two big ones about me. I'm not a lady, I'm a dude. You are also way over the top. "Right up there with Papa Stalin and Der Fuhrer?" And you're telling other people how to make their points? Gimme a break.

Posted by: Lindy | 2008-11-17 4:35:10 PM


>>7. Spoken like a true anarchist. Answering in order makes the follow-up answer easier to structure. Let me guess—you’re the kind of person who saves scads of money by buying dictionaries that are not in alphabetical order.<<

If I'd known you'd have such a hard time with re-ordering (with use of labels, I might add) I would have kept things the way they were out of courtesy - but that's all it would have been since the ordering didn't have any bearing on the argument.

I'm not one, but anarchists believe in rules, Shane. What they don't believe in is compulsory governments. You can double check that in your conveniently ordered dictionary. If you don't have one, I can lend you mine.

Posted by: Janet | 2008-11-17 4:52:47 PM


McShitstain is only doing what his union masters order.

Posted by: reg dunlop | 2008-11-17 5:21:22 PM


Ryan wrote: “1. There is a reason we have a LEGAL blood alcohol limit.”

1. And for teens, driving or not, that limit is 0.0.

2. Banning handheld phones, which is what the legislation does, actually makes sense. Banning handsfree, Bluetooth, GPS, and other electronic “distracters,” which McGuinty’s law doesn’t propose but he has indicated he supports, is indeed idiotic. If you’re going to go to that limit, you might as well ban the radio.

3. Except for the fact that teens and young adults are far more likely to binge in this manner to begin with, and alcohol decreases your existing skill set, which in an adult is at least greater and in a teen is much less well developed. We also don’t know how many of those 31 drinks were the driver’s.

4. As a general rule, that’s good advice. However, there is irrefutable statistical proof that teens get in more accidents than anyone else.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-17 6:33:35 PM


Xanthia wrote: “1. Ahh the ignorance of adulthood. I actually am not getting emotional at all right now. I am having a blast.”

1. You don’t intend for me to take that claim seriously, do you? The resentment at these proposals, and at my attitude towards teens, practically drips off your posts. Your righteous wrath is roused; anyone can see that. Well, anyone over 30, I mean.

2. No, it doesn’t help. The accident of physical appearance, in and of itself, does not grant you experience in excess of any other 12-year-old. And why are we still talking about you? “World, world, this is me, look at me! All teens are as good as me, and we are all better than the grownups that make the rules; we are the hope of the future, the ones who are going to save the planet from our parents who have turned it into a scungey, lifeless, smoking ball of death.” Oh, I’ve never heard that one before. If you want to convince us of the purity and nobility of your aspirations, sweetheart, why don’t you put up posters of nymphs and green utopias, instead of some guy who looks like he’s getting electrocuted by his guitar?

3. No. It will take you about another twenty years. I have something you don’t—the benefit of hindsight. I’ve been an adult for as long as you’ve been alive, and seen things through adult eyes for the same period. You have yet to see your first day through adult eyes, let alone twenty years’ worth. You’re not going to magically get that just by ripping a page off the calendar.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-17 6:47:13 PM


1. Lindy, you freely admit to underage drinking EVERY WEEKEND. That’s a criminal offence—fifty-two criminal offences per year. Moving violations—particularly low-level speeding violations that everyone commits, including those called upon to enforce them—are actually in quite a different category, especially when obeying the law would result in your blocking traffic, which it would (except in places where it really counts, such as school zones, steep curves, or areas with lots of pedestrians).

2. My mistake. Maybe it was the fact that you write like a woman and have a name like a woman. “Lindy”? Seriously, dude, why don’t you just come out and switch to “Colette” or something?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-17 6:52:55 PM


Actually, Janet, my own dictionary is adequate. All it says is that an anarchist doesn't believe in organized governance. "Anarchist" comes from the Greek "anarkhia," meaning "nonrule." It doesn't say anarchists still believe in rules, or if they do, who should make them. You didn't add that little embellishment yourself, by any chance?

If you object to "anarchist," perhaps "rebel" would be more to your liking?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-17 7:01:29 PM


Oh Shane, go down to The Grizz and re-live your happy days.

Posted by: Collette | 2008-11-17 7:36:21 PM


LOL. shane. im hardly a knuckle head. and yeah, if i could vote, i would. i dont see the point of wasting a valuable privledge. and because of the fact that i AM only 17 its unfortunately very hard for me to PROVE anything. i get generalized into the main stream of the rest of teens who apparently are terrible drivers and dont vote because they dont care and arent up to date with the issues.
you act like your soo much better than all of the young people commenting on this. "you're 17? id have never guessed" its ignorant comments like that that make the youth lose respect for the older generations. you think your soo knowledgable and experienced, and so much better than me.. i mean what do i know im just a knuckle head. the fact that im blonde probably wouldnt put me very high in your books either. how old are you, if you dont mind my asking?

i know you keep saying that it doesnt matter what i think.. and that yeah action is what gets things done. but honestly im just trying to voice my opinion. i dont think its fair to randomly crack down and generalize on only young drivers. sure we dont have as much experience, but at least we havent had as much time to develop bad driving habits either. i know for a fact that i am a better driver than my own mother, who has had over 20 years of driving experience. people get too comfortable and too cocky, and guess what... older people can still get into accidents and speed JUST the same as young people can.. shocking i know :O

Posted by: Tayler | 2008-11-17 7:47:31 PM


1 2 3 4 Next »

The comments to this entry are closed.