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Would Stricter Rules For Young Drivers Make Roads Safer?

BOWMANVILLE, Ont. - The Ontario government has proposed a bill that would introduce "modest restrictions" for young drivers in an effort to keep the province's roads safer. The legislation would inclu...

BOWMANVILLE, Ont. –The Ontario government has proposed a bill that would introduce “modest restrictions” for young drivers in an effort to keep the province’s roads safer. The legislation would include a zero blood-alcohol limit for drivers under the age of 22, and escalating sanctions for drivers who speed, starting off with a 30-day licence suspension after a first offence. Drivers between 16 and 19 may also be limited to one teenaged passenger in the vehicle.

Though the proposed law has already encountered harsh criticism from young people across the province, Premier Dalton McGuinty has said he’s prepared to impose such restrictions in order to make Ontario roads safer.

But would the law actually increase road safety if put into practice? Truck News spoke with truckers at the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Bowmanville, Ont. to see what they thought of the proposed bill. •

Murray McIntyre, a driver with Ayr Motor Express out of Woodstock, N. B., said he doubts the law will have much effect. He said that if you really want to do something to make roads safer, it’s time to go after car manufacturers.

“Cars have got so much power to them and people are using it. If you got it, you’re going to use it. It’s just human nature to go that way,” he said. “Cut back on the horsepower on these cars and stop making them so powerful. Why do you need all that power when the speed limits are 100 km/h or 90 km/h? It doesn’t make sense. Who’s James Bond? Nobody driving a big rig, that’s for sure.”

Keith Murphy, a driver with Muir’s Cartage out of Concord, Ont., says that the proposed law -and many others like it -tend to take things a little too far.

“I know when I was younger and I first got my licence, I was a little crazy at times. But some of these policies are a little overzealous with what they’re trying to accomplish,” he told Truck News. “I drive every day and I’m out on the road and I see a lot of stuff happen…but I don’t have the answers on how to make them any safer.”

Lloyd Smith, a driver with Brookville Carriers in Truro, N. S., says the new law sounds fantastic – in principle.

“If we could get the drunk drivers off the road and the young people would smarten up and slow down, we’d have a lot safer place to drive on,” said Smith, who noted that he’s been driving for “too many years to count.”

But he adds that the law will only prove useful if it’s enforced, and said that the odds of that happening are “pretty darn slim.”

“I see a lot of laws but I don’t see much enforcement. You’ve got trucks going 110 km/h and they get pulled over, but then you’ve got a car going by you at 100 miles an hour (160 km/h) and everyone turns a blind eye,” he added.

Frank Bongertman, a driver with Weber in Elmira, Ont., says that any “zero tolerance” law stands a fair chance to promote safe driving at a young age.

However, he also felt that all drivers should have to take responsibility for safe highways -not just young people.

“It might be a good deterrent, they might smarten up,” he suggested. “(But) it’s not just them, it’s everybody. Zero tolerance for everybody, not just young people.”

Truck News

Truck News

Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.
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