January 10, 2011
I am writing this letter to you, so that I can express my feelings about Kyleigh’s Law. Kyleigh’s Law claims that it will save lives, make roads safer for all drivers, ensure that parents, young drivers, and police officers are able to take an active role in protecting our roadways, and its suppose to improve teen driving skills. Many people may feel this way, but I don’t at all. I am a seventeen-year-old kid and after having my license for about a month already, I feel that this law doesn’t affect me nor help anyone in any way. I am writing to you to share my concerns about Kyleigh’s Law and how it allocates danger to teenagers, promotes ageism, promotes discrimination, and promotes profiling.
As this new law is developing in our society, every teen with a provisional license must have a red one-inch by one and a half inch sticker on their license plate. This is so that the police can identify the person’s age, and know if they are breaking the rules. According to the Dictionary, discrimination is treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit. Kyleigh’s law is discriminating against every teenager in the state of New Jersey that is obeying this rule. Not only is this a very unsafe thing to do to a person, its very unsafe to do it to a teenager.
When a teenager puts the red sticker on his or her car, they are susceptible and exposed. It is like a signal to the whole world saying, “Hi I am a young driver, and I am an easy target.” This idea makes parents very scared, and most all of the parents thought that now it’s very easy for sex offenders to find random teenagers on the road. According to New Jersey State Police Office of Sex Offenders, in 2010 there are 3,317 published sex offenders in the state on New Jersey. If teenagers on the road are easily targeted from anyone that means that it would be safer to not even have the red sticker on the cars anyways. It is just making it easier for sex offenders and pedophiles to go an attack these kids. We do not want this happening to our young teenagers that are drivers. According to The National Center for Victims of Crime, in 2007, teen’s ages 12 to 19 experienced nearly 1.6 million violent crimes, and 57,511 of those crimes were sexual assaults and rapes. Clearly, at age seventeen, which is the age you get your provisional license, these drivers are at high risk. So by requiring these kids to have the red stickers on their car, puts them in high risk of violence.
Because of Kyleigh’s law and the little red sticker, many teens are being singled out and also being apart of a stereotype that shouldn’t be there at all. According to Nj.com, only 2 out of 5 drivers even have the red sticker on their car. When anyone that is driving sees the red sticker they automatically think that teen drivers are the worst. They think that just because they are a teen, that they don’t know how to drive. There are a lot of people that think this way. People then make stupid decisions on the road and try to pass them. Also, many people will try tailgating them, or just do stupid things that drivers should not do. According to the New Jersey Driving Association, teen drivers are better on the road then drivers that are 70 and older. This law is useless and will only lead to worse of accidents. The law also with the stereotype leads to a lot of discrimination towards teenagers. For example, say you see a Muslim at the air port, most peoples first reactions are, I think that they are terrorists, they better be checked before going onto a plane. This has the same effect on how people will view teen drivers, and how they are being stereotyped. A teenager has a lot to go through already, and by putting them through more discrimination from this Kyleighs law, it is just not right. Just because of the little red sticker, teenagers are stereotyped of being bad and dangerous drivers, and that’s just idiotic.
The idea behind this law is simple and very clear. According to Ebscohost, teens have the highest crash rate. This is only because it is their first couple years of driving and they are still new to the road. That doesn’t mean that they are bad drivers though. It just means that they aren’t as experienced as older drivers. Our schools are not contributing on helping our kids as much as they should be doing. They are to blame for why some kids get into car crashes. According to Jim Lockwood who wrote this article in the Start Ledger in April of 2010, a reason for the high death toll of teen drivers may be related to driver education courses that schools hold. Only half of the nation’s public high schools offer teen driving course at all. Also, many schools have cut their driving programs so that they didn’t have to deal with getting cars, the money, and making sure they get people to help. Another main point is that the schools teach the kids just the right thing so that they can pass their written exam and not necessarily safe drivers on the road. The teachers don’t teach them more that they will need to know when they are out on the road. The students need to be taught practical driving safety also.
According to Alex Palicz, who wrote an article called, “New Jersey’s Kyleigh’s Law Puts a Bullseye on Youth” in the New Jersey Post, commercial driving public schools have the same problem that the schools have. The teenagers focus on just trying to pass their test rather then actual driving skills that they will need to stay out of accidents. In New Jersey, the driving test is very simple. All the driving instructor does is tell the student to go down a road that has turns in it, then do a K-turn, and then finally parallel park. After doing just these easy things the instructor either passes the student or fails the student. But here is when people don’t see how easy the test is. Many teen drivers can be great at parking a car, but they can be horrible at driving one on the road. How does parking a car can make a student get your license or not. That’s why we need to change our test. That is another reason why Kyleigh’s Law is so corrupt in our system and we need to get rid of it now.
The stickers don’t work at making teenagers better drivers at all and it doesn’t have any effect on teen drivers. Many teens will either accept the law and use the stickers, or they won’t even care and not have them on. Teenagers are still going to drive either way; just by putting a sticker on the car isn’t going to do anything. The roads are dangerous as it is, we don’t need a red sticker causing more violence and accidents, especially with teenager drivers.
New Jersey is a great place for teenagers, and New Jersey is way more intelligent then we are acting by enforcing this law. This solution is very unreasonable, and causes every teen driver to be at risk every second they are in the car. New Jersey should not discriminate against anyone at anytime. I thought New Jersey was a great place to live in. But this law is discriminating teens, and that’s not right at all.