Archive for Thursday, April 3, 2008

Student letters on driving

April 3, 2008

Dear Representative Brown,

My name is Katie Sosna. I'm 13 years old and go to Lexington Middle School. I live in Shawnee. I'm involved in basketball, church youth group, babysitting and soccer. I like to do community service; I coach a 1st grade girls' soccer team. When I found out that Kansas was changing the driving age I wasn't too happy.

Last year the Senate approved a bill, SB 294, increasing the driving age for a learner's permit from 14 to 15, a restricted license from 15 to 16, and a non-restricted license to 17. Also a driver under 18 would be prohibited from driving while on a cell phone. The subcommittee has increased the penalties for teens who violate traffic laws, set limits on nighttime driving, and set a limit on the number of passengers in the car. In the House version both nighttime and passenger provisions were eliminated. I understand why the Senate and other people believe that this bill should pass.

Doug Herbert's boys' were in a car crash on January 26 this year. His son, John, pulled into oncoming traffic to make a pass and was hit head on. He and his younger brother were killed. Ever since this happened Doug made it his job to educate young drivers and their parents about how dangerous it can be driving while distracted. Herbert's program is called BRAKES: Be Responsible and Keep Everything Safe.

I feel that we should keep the driving ages the same. If we were educated earlier in life we would be better drivers. If someone like Doug Herbert, who went through a life changing experience, could come to schools and educate us about what happens when you don't take driving seriously, that alone would allow us to be aware and more prepared of what's ahead of us. In high school, drivers' education should be offered during the school year and not just in the summer.

Thank you, Rep. Brown, for your time spent reading my letter. I hope that you take my thoughts into consideration.

Katie Sosna

Dear Representative Brown,

My name is Emily Churchwell. I am 13 years old and I am in the seventh grade at Lexington Trails Middle School. I am a resident in the town of De Soto. I am a very busy person in and outside of school. In school, I play the flute, I am on student council and I am also running in track. Outside of school, I'm also a Girl Scout. One of my favorite hobbies is drawing.

I think changing the driving laws in Kansas would be a bad idea because, if the age did change, then we would have less experience on the roads during our high school years. I also think that the rule of no friends in the car while we're driving is an unreasonable idea. Most of the students in our school are responsible enough to not cause trouble. Also, I think it is unfair to limit the driving time to 9 pm. Think if a family member needed something from the store, at night, and they couldn't drive down to get it. If the student driver could not go for them, then they would have to wait to get it until the next day. I also think that most students are serious enough to have cell phones in the car when they are driving. Even though they probably shouldn't be talking consistently when driving, I think they should be able to answer calls or call parents/friends in emergencies.

Even though I disagree with most things I also agree with one other thing, which is changing the unrestricted license age from 16 to 16 1/2. For me, I am pretty nervous about driving, but not to nervous to start in one year. If you changed the age to sixteen and a half, I would feel safer and more experienced when it is time to get my official license.

In conclusion, I think you should not change the starting age to 15. Students should be able to have friends in the car because most of us are responsible enough to do so. We should be able to have cell phones while driving because parents would be able to contact their child(ren) in an emergency. But, I also respect the idea of changing the age on the unrestricted license. Thank you for taking the time to listen to my concerns and comments about the driving laws in Kansas.

Emily Churchwell


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