In the latest attempt to impose on Nevadans another level of California-inspired mommification, state Sen. Bill O’Donnell and Assemblywoman Barbara Cegavske, both R-Las Vegas, posed to have their pictures taken in front of a wrecked automobile in Carson City March 16, lending some visual verisimilitude to their call for a whole new raft of restrictions on Nevada drivers aged 16 to 18 – just like in California.
Assembly Bill 552 would forbid young Nevada drivers to be on the roads after 10 p.m. except in cases of travel to work or school events, or medical emergencies or “family necessity.” Young drivers would be forbidden for a time to carry any passenger age 20 or younger, except for family members. Under the proposals, police would supposedly be banned from pulling over young drivers because their passengers look too young, though the drivers could be cited (facing a fine and eight to 16 hours of slave labor for some left-wing, do-gooder cause) if police claim to have pulled them over for a cracked taillight, and then accidentally (start ital)discover(end ital) a passenger is under 20.
Based on current practice involving youngish-looking customers for beer or cigarettes, this means cops would now be allowed to pull over and “card” at will any nighttime driver under 35, “on suspicion.” And how exactly are the officers supposed to determine whether young drivers are coming from a “school event”? Are they now responsible to read and verify “notes from mom”? First thing I would do, were I a modern young man off to consummate a midnight drug deal, would be to always don an authentic-looking letter sweater, and make sure my lady of the evening carries a set of pom-poms in appropriate school colors. Would that suffice?
Why exempt “family members,” for heaven’s sake? It’s OK for junior to kill his 12-year-old kid sister, but not his 17-year-old date? Or is this really a birth control measure, masquerading as something else entirely?
And who says kids get into more accidents after 10 p.m., anyway? What makes them so much safer at 4 in the afternoon, when there’s a lot more confusing traffic on our streets?
The mincing meddlers justify all this with statistics that show 16-year-olds are more likely to get into accidents than 18-year-olds. Sure they are. And 18-year-olds are far more likely to get into accidents than 36-year-olds. So why not place these same restrictions on all drivers under 35, “if it would save a single life”?
For that matter, drivers over 75 are involved in more accidents than the norm. Shall we also restrict the hours these geezers can be out, and the passengers they’re allowed to carry? How about diabetics, epileptics, and those who wear hearing aids? Maybe we should only let them drive golf carts that go 20 miles per hour, with big red flags on top. Soon the do-gooders will be arguing that males cause more accidents than females, and therefore all men should be driven to work — and then straight home — by their wives or moms. Shall we check the statistics?
Many drivers under 18 drive cars that belong to their parents, who are free to set restrictions on hours and activities, and often should. Otherwise, the states (justifying it as a simple certification that a driver can handle the machine safely) have already used this “licensing” scam to impose what amounts to a system of national “travel papers” on a once free nation, accustoming us to far more “papers, please” police oversight than should probably be tolerated by any free people.
(If it’s only proof that I know how to drive, why do I have to renew my “license” every couple of years, and inform them when I move across town? Do people forget how to drive when they change addresses? My high school diploma doesn’t “expire” if I fail to pay a “renewal fee.” And if it’s only about driving, why do I have to show it to board an airliner? To register to vote? To cash a check? The bank says I’m only required to show a “valid photo ID,” but when I offer them my laminated health club membership card — complete with photo — the teller blithely informs me “No, it means your driver’s license.” So I can’t get the money out of my own account if it turns out I flunked my parallel parking test?)
Enough. If lawmakers still have time to dream up and promote this kind of convoluted nanny-state nonsense, even after Nevadans went to the polls last year and limited our (blessedly) every-other-year legislative sessions to a maximum of 120 days … well, maybe next time we’ll just have to limit them to six weeks.
Vin Suprynowicz is the assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. His new book, “Send in the Waco Killers: Essays on the Freedom Movement, 1993-1998,” is available at $21.95 plus $3 shipping ($6 UPS; $2 each additional copy) through Mountain Media, P.O. Box 4422, Las Vegas, Nev. 89127-4422. The 500-page trade paperback may also be ordered via web site, or at 1-800-244-2224.