Not the Thanksgiving Message I was Hoping to Send

This time of year I like to give thanks for the blessings I have received, but today I simply can’t write about my blessings, though they are many.

As I looked through the Birmingham News this morning I saw where we have had two more traffic fatalities involving children drivers, which occurred WELL after midnight, the most recent wreck happening at 3:40 a.m. The driver was 16 and his passenger was 17.

Why in the world would parents allow their children to be out driving around at that hour? I was always told, and I continue to tell MY kids, that NOTHING good can come from being out after midnight.

This wreck came only one day after two Hoover children were in a wreck at 3:30 a.m., killing a 15 year old girl and badly injuring the 16 year old driver. What a senseless tragedy. Instead of looking forward to seeing family for Thanksgiving dinner, these families are planning funerals.

For years I have lobbied the Alabama Department of Public Safety to institute a “Graduated Driver License” in our state, which puts limitations on when a young, newly licensed driver can drive. The Legislature finally passed the law and was effective as of July 2010. I will post a pertinent part of the law below:

Stage II (Restricted License)

  • Must be age 16 or older.
  • Must have permission from parent or legal guardian to receive a Stage II license
    (restricted) and drive without supervision.
  • Must complete road skills examination with a passing grade. (Exam is based on
    information in the Alabama Driver Manual.)
  • Must not drive during the hours of midnight to 6 a.m. unless accompanied by a
    parent or legal guardian, accompanied by a licensed driver who is age 21 or older
    with parent or legal guardian’s consent, going to or from an event sponsored by
    school or religious organization, going to or from place of employment or driving for
    the purpose of a medical, fire or law-enforcement related emergency.
  • Must not have more than one passenger in the vehicle other than parents, legal
    guardians or family members.
  • Must not use any handheld communication devices while driving.

Parents and young drivers, please use common sense. Set rules about late night driving. Follow not only the letter of the law, but set limits on when and where young drivers should go.

Please say a prayer for these families during this Holiday, and count your many blessings.