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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Slow them down

Twenty states require teens to have 50 hours of driving practice before they get a license, and Indiana is one of only 10 states that have no practice requirements at all. So this seems reasonable:

Teenagers would be required to complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving practice and wait longer before getting an Indiana driver's license under a proposed bill unveiled by lawmakers Monday.

The bill, aimed at reducing the number of crashes caused by young people, also would ban teen drivers from using cell phones and handsfree devices while driving. Probationary drivers would have to display a placard issued by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in the rear window of their vehicle.

This is a "graduated license" proposal that would lift certain restrictions (such as no passengers during the first 180 days and no late-night driving) being lifted as the driver progressed. Drivers wouldn't get an unrestricted driver's license before age 18, which sounds about right. Driving would then become an adult privelege, one of those benefits you get after high school. Teen brains -- especially the areas governing judgment and risk assessment -- aren't as well developed as adult ones. Any law that tames their driving habits a bit until they can mature a little is a good move.