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October 16, 1996 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-16

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


taw limits teens'
driving to cut 4
down on crashe 4

The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 16, 1996 - 5

LANSING (AP) - Joggers the four
teen-agers drove past on a rural road
that rainy afternoon said the group had
-been laughing and carefree. But sec-
'onds later, a tanker slammed into the
teens' car, leaving 15-year-old Colette
Brnes and two other girls dead in a
pile of mangled metal..
Dne of Colette's friends -- also 15
d driving with a learner's permit but
without the required adult - had run a
stop sign, sending the car into the
truck's path. The impact spared only a
17-year-old boy in the back.
In the 14 months since, Colette's par-
ents have filled some of the emptiness
with a crusade trying to prevent other
families from the same tragedy. Lynda
and Scott Barnes helped push a new
',aw they think could have saved their
ughter by making sure the driver was
better trained.
"We had to do something - we're
losing our kids," said a teary Lynda
Barnes, surrounded in her Mason home
by pictures of Colette and her two other
daughters. "I've got another one com-
ing up and I don't want to lose any
The law, passed last month, makes
Michigan one of a growing number of
1ates to establish a multi-step licensing
'stem that limits teens' freedom to
drive until they gain experience.
Eleven states now have such "gradu-
ated licensing" requirements, and many
others have approved less comprehen-
sive restrictions. At least eight more
states are looking at placing additional
limits on teen drivers.
"It's a major problem in all the states
with young drivers," said state Rep.
an Gustafson (R-Williamston) the
A1ichigan bill's sponsor. "Quite frankly,
it's a national epidemic."
Encouraging teens to use seat belts
and not drive after drinking has
dropped teen-age crash fatalities from
~their peak in 1986. But motor vehicle
accidents still are the top killer of teens
and are on the rise again.
And though teens made up 5.1 per-
'tent of the country's licensed drivers in
~994, they accounted for 13.9 percent
Those in the safety community say a
lot is riding on their hopes for graduat-
ed driver's licensing, because experts

have few - if any - ideas left about
how to make teens safer drivers.
Studies have shown between 5 per-
cent and 16 percent reductions in youth
crashes in places that have some gradu-
ated licensing provisions.
The restrictions appear to work
because they address the chief problem
for youth drivers: not alcohol, or even a
higher tendency to take risks, but inex-
perience, several experts said.
"It's really to train people to drive the
same way we train people to do a lot of
other complex tasks - a little bit at a
time," said Rob Foss, with the
University of North Carolina's
Highway Safety Research Center.
Maryland was first to enact some
features of graduated licensing in 1979.
But only in the last year or two have a
larger number of states given the plan
serious attention, safety experts say.
"There's increasing recognition that
what we're doing isn't working," said
Patricia Waller, who authored the grad-
uated licensing concept 30 years ago
and now heads the University of
Michigan's Transportation Research
Kentucky and Michigan - which
along with Florida approved graduated
licensing this year - are considered to
have the most extensive programs.
Thirteen-year-old Brenden Gunnell
of Haslett is horrifiedat the hoops he'll
have to jump through to get a license
under Michigan's new law.
"I hate it," he said. "I'n going to
want to go on dates, and now (my dad)
will have to drive me."
When the law takes effect in April,
young drivers no longer will need just
driver's education and 30 days with a
learner's permit to get a license. Instead,
they will have to go through a complex
three-stage process.
Michigan teens will have to stay con-
viction- and accident-free to progress at
each stage. And a "zero tolerance" law
already in effect holds teens to a legal
blood-alcohol limit of 0.02 percent, com-
pared with the 0.10 percent for adults.
What other states are doing varies
But most states still have attached
few rules to getting an unrestricted dri-
ver's license. Only 29 require a learn-
er's permit at all.

State moves
to tree steps
for licensing
LANSING (AP) - Young drivers in Michigan will be
held to a new standard when the state's new graduated
licensing system takes effect in April.
The new system begins earlier than now - when teens
are 14 years, 9 months old, instead of 15 -but doesn't end
until after they are 17.
Teens could qualify for a level-one license allowing
them to drive only with a parent or someone over 21 with a
parent's approval after completing driver training and a
writing test.
Once they turn 16, students then could move up to
level two and drive alone after holding the permit for six
months and practicing their driving for at least 50 hours
with a parent accompanying them.
They also would have to have completed a second driver
education segment, passed a newly reinstated road test and
gone without a moving violation for the 90 days before..
The level-two license bans the teen from driving between
midnight and 5 a.m. unless going to work or accompanied
by a parent.
After turning 17, spending six months at level two and
going 12 consecutive months without a moving violation or
accident, the teen would be eligible for an unrestricted dri-
ver's license.
Michigan's current system says 15-year-olds can get a
learner's permit, allowing them to drive with a parent after
they complete driver's education - which usually means
six hours of road practice and 30 hours of class instruction
- and take a written test. After turning 16 and having the
permit for at least 30 days, teens can get an unrestricted

Scott and Lynda Barnes hold a picture of their daughter, Colette, in their Mason, Mich., home on Oct. 9.
Colette was killed in a car crash 14 months ago, and since then the pair has worked to get a law
passed in Michigan that establishes a multi-step licensing system that limits teens' freedom to drive
until they gain experience behind the wheel.

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_ _ __,

Thursday October 17 through
Saturday October 19
Contact: Linda Rider
Friday October 18 and
Saturday October 19
Contact: Mary L. Perrydore
Phone: 763.5775
For the Classes of 1951, 1956, 1961,
1966,1971,1976, 1981, 1986, and 1991
Friday October 18 and
Saturday October 19
Contact: The College of Pharmacy
. , sc o andwegf event may rot be open to
Look for more events
& specific info to come
in the Michigan Gaily!

Sponsored by: ARMY ROTC
Thursday October 17
4:00 pm
Contact: North Hall-
Sponsored by: NAACP
Thursday October 17
Cobblestone Farms, 2781 Packard
10:00 pm
Contact: Loren McGhee 528.0540

Thursday October 17
Pedication of the Lurie Tower,
Music & Light show at 9:00 pm

Friday October 18
Hill Auditorium
7:30 pm
Saturday October 19
Tailgate at the Track & Tennis building:
Featuring Do Schembechler
10:00 am
9 um
Saturday October 19
Michigan Stadiumn
Kickoff 12:30 pm
"The night shines
in black & Silver"
Sponsored b~y: The African
American Programming Task Force
Saturday Octob'er 19
Power Center
5:00 pm -1:00a m
Featuring: Hustle Contest
Ms. Jazzy Dress & Mr. GQ Contests

Friday October 18
Parade down S.University to S.State to
N.University to the Power Center
6:00 pm
Featurin Men and

Women's Glee Club, Michigan Pep Band, Orbitron,

and much more!
Attire: Semi-formal, masquerade masks'

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