Nanny State

Calif. Legislator Wants to Expand Teen Driving Curfews to Some Adults

Under 21? Better have the proper papers to drive late at night.

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Kid driver
Photomyeye / Dreamstime.com

One California state legislator wants to expand the state's apparent desire to treat grown adults like teens by restricting their driving rights.

California last year passed legislation increasing the legal age for residents to purchase cigarettes to 21. Now Democratic Assemblyman Jim Frazier of Oakley has introduced legislation to treat adult drivers like they're still teenagers until they reach 21.

Frazier has introduced AB 63, which expands California's provisional driver's licensing program to all drivers under 21. What does that mean? We'll let Frazier's bill speak for itself:

Existing law, the Brady-Jared Teen Driver Safety Act of 1997, establishes a provisional licensing program and generally requires that a driver's license issued to a person at least 16 years of age but under 18 years of age be issued pursuant to that provisional licensing program. During the first 12 months after issuance of a provisional license, existing law prohibits the licensee from driving between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. and transporting passengers who are under 20 years of age, unless he or she is accompanied and supervised by a licensed driver, as specified, or a licensed or certified driving instructor. Existing law provides limited exceptions to these restrictions under which a licensee is authorized to drive under specified circumstances, including a school or school-authorized activity or an employment necessity, and requires the licensee to keep certain supporting documentation in his or her possession. A violation of these provisions is punishable as an infraction.

This bill would expand the scope of the provisional licensing program by extending the applicable age range for the program to 16 to under 21 years of age. By expanding the scope of the provisional licensing program, the violation of which constitutes an infraction, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would authorize a licensee who is 18, 19, or 20 years of age to keep in his or her possession a copy of his or her class schedule or work schedule as documentation to satisfy the exceptions for a school or school-authorized activity and employment necessity, respectively, and would provide that a signed statement by a parent or legal guardian is not required if reasonable transportation facilities are inadequate and the operation of a vehicle by a licensee who is 18, 19, or 20 years of age is necessary to transport the licensee or the licensee's immediate family member. The bill would make other technical and conforming changes. The bill would also include specified findings and declarations.

The law would put a statewide curfew in place for adult drivers between the ages of 18 to 21 for one year, just like the state has for teens. Adults who fit in this category will have to carry around paperwork to show government officials (police officers) that they have the authority to be driving "after hours" for reasons that the state permits.

It's a grotesque violation of the right for adults to travel freely, all for the name of public safety, of course. Frazier cites all sorts of demographic data about young people behind the wheel. From the East Bay Times:

Frazier cited research from the Governors Highway Safety Association that found that over the last 10 years improvement in fatal crash rates were better among drivers between the ages of 15 and 17 than among their 18- to 20-year-old counterparts. Additionally, the GHSA found that older teens were twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash between midnight and 6 a.m. and attributed this to provisional licensing programs.

"Some folks say it is very restrictive to teens and folks who don't have experience driving," Frazier said. "The most restrictive part is the part where they end up in a casket."

It might not surprise readers to learn that Frazier tragically lost a daughter in a car crash in 2000. Whenever we see a proposal that restricts the liberty of citizens with stabs at increasing public safety, we usually find a tragedy at the heart of it.

Frazier is opportunistically here using a recent spike in fatal crashes (due to more people driving more miles than previous years) to justify a new law treating adults like kids. But in reality, driving has become safer than ever. Look at this graph of motor vehicle deaths per 100,000 population over decades:

Graph
Washington Post

Even if it were worth considering severely limiting the rights of adults to travel freely, the larger statistics don't support it.

Under normal circumstances, I'd rate the chances of this legislation getting anywhere as fairly low. But given that we're talking about California here and the success of nanny state arguments in either curtailing private behavior or increasing regulatory burdens, it's unwise to dismiss its prospects.

So this afternoon (at noon Pacific time), I'll be a guest on "Air Talk" on KPCC (89.3), Los Angeles' NPR affiliate, to discuss this bill. Just to bulletpoint some things I'll be likely to point out:

  • If we're using demographic data to restrict the rights of adults, why stop with such a limited law? Just think of how many lives could be saved if everybody were forbidden to drive from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. unless it were for certain government-approved purposes like work or school.
  • The logic of using public safety fears to violate citizens' rights led us to places like stop-and-frisk. Couldn't these kinds of arguments lead to a place where other demographic groups have their rights to travel restricted on the basis of being part of a risk category?
  • The courts have ruled that Americans, in general, have a right to travel. Yes there's a heavy amount of regulation, but due process procedures are largely required in order to take that right away. In fact, the lack of due process played a major role in federal courts ruling that the way the Department of Homeland Security was handling no-fly lists was unconstitutional. The government can't simply take away an adult's right to travel without a coherent due process program. Even in the cases of drunken drivers, the government has to prove a crime before taking away somebody's right to drive.

Tune in to KPCC at noon to listen to me make the case. Read the law here.

NEXT: Nice Little Company Ya Got There. Shame if Anything Happened to It.

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  1. We are long past the time when we need to throw California out of the union.

  2. Brady-Jared Teen Driver Safety Act of 1997

    It is a truism that any law named after a dead kid is a horrible law.

    1. But… but… Amber Alerts!

      Because if a kidnapped teen runs through my house while I’m watching TV, I might recognize her!

      1. If a kidnapped teen girl runs through my house while I’m watching TV, I’m tying her back up.

        1. That’s how Muslim men “tie the knot.”

  3. It’s a grotesque violation of the right for adults to travel freely, all for the name of public safety, of course.

    Welcome to Trump’s America.

    1. It’s a grotesque violation of the right for adults to travel freely,

      Sure, but its just another entry on a long list.

    2. Was Trump elected to office in California too? I didn’t think so and wouldn’t necessarily agree that he would do anything like that; time will tell. Californians have managed to do all of these idiotic things all by themselves.

  4. If we’re using demographic data to restrict the rights of adults, why stop with such a limited law? Just think of how many lives could be saved if everybody were forbidden to drive from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. unless it were for certain government-approved purposes like work or school.

    Yeah. Scott, I’ve tried using the sensible next-step progression to show people just how absurd we’ve become. It doesn’t work, people just “yeah, yeah”, wave you off and do anyway whatever reckless thing they thought sounded like a great idea this time.

    1. Honestly, why should people be driving at all if they’re not commuting to work or to or from an officially approved event?

      I know lots of people who would have scary ass responses to that question.

      1. If they have the proper papers they should be allowed to travel, but only if they have the proper papers.

        1. This. We can’t live in anarchy. Just because you have a right to travel doesn’t mean it’s not subject to reasonable regulation.

  5. Just think of how many lives could be saved if everybody were forbidden to drive from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. unless it were for certain government-approved purposes like work or school.

    Don’t be such a drama queen.

  6. “The most restrictive part is the part where they end up in a casket.”

    California, less restrictive than being dead!

  7. Would these under 21 people be able to take their own kids to daycare, kindergarten
    , etc? There are plenty of young parents out there and this would be an undue burden in the worst way.

    1. Too young to be raising children; CPS will be by shortly to fix* the situation.

      *fix = bring police to tase the parents and kidnap the children.

  8. “The most restrictive part is the part where they end up in a casket.”

    Man, fuck you.

  9. I can’t see how this is possibly enforceable.

    1. More police on the streets, more people getting shot, win.

    2. Like most laws it’s selectively enforceable, which is to say it gives cops another excuse to harass people.

    3. This is genius. It allows police probable cause to pull over anyone they think “looks kind of young” (which, given how much deference they’re given in these things, will mean anybody younger than 70). Then they can “smell marijuana” or “see something in plain view”

      1. +1 reasonable officer standard
        +1 reasonable mistake of law

  10. If we’re using demographic data to restrict the rights of adults, why stop with such a limited law? Just think of how many lives could be saved if everybody were forbidden to drive from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. unless it were for certain government-approved purposes like work or school.

    Please don’t give them any ideas.

  11. Don’t wanna be a thug? Then don’t drive after 11pm.

  12. +55mph on the alt text

  13. Bulletpoints? Are you trying to convince me or trigger me?

    1. Those are bulletholes. They are trying to hit you.

      /Why we need gun control.

  14. Does it really matter? Why get all worked up over a law when we all know Trump is going to get rid of the roads?

  15. or this is just a ruse to force more (young) people into using more public transportation.

  16. Why do some people consider the slippery slope argument a logical fallacy when we do in fact keep slipping down the slope ?

    1. Well, they’ve come for the Socialists and the trade unionists, and they’re putting stars and numbers on the Jews like they might come for them soon, but they haven’t come for us yet, so this is not a hill to die on.

    2. The slope implies a descent or fall and that’s too plainly obvious too identify as a bad thing and avoid. It’s dead simple to disagree that bad things are gonna happen and, even if they do, we just avoid them. It needs rebranding. Something more inevitable yet unforeseeable like, “pi?ata bat to the groin argument”.

    3. I have a problem using the slippery slope argument when it’s used one-way. In this case the argument is valid as long as the arguer believes there should be no driving restrictions at all for safety reasons. Otherwise the argument can be turned around to, for example, we should have no speed limits under any conditions. Or you shouldn’t be restricted to driving on the right side of the road. But if one believes in a balance between safety and freedom one has to pick where that balance is.

      1. No that sounds backwards. The opposite of ever more onerous and draconian restrictions on freedom is not having no rules at all. The reason the slope is slippery is precisely because those pushing for more restrictions do not believe in freedom, and therefore the loss of freedom is not part of their calculus.

        1. They don’t necessarily lack belief in freedom. They may, and probably do, strike a different balance than others between freedom and safety. And yes, if one subscribes to the slippery slope argument in this case, it means they must believe, to be logically consistent, that there should be no safety rules. When the first car set out on a road there probably weren’t any safety rules. When someone first suggested that we drive on the right side of the road for safety sake, the slippery slope argument is that we shouldn’t do that because that’s a loss of freedom and it could lead to more losses of freedom. And every time a safety rule was suggested one could make the same argument.

    4. It is a “logical” fallacy, but not all logical fallacies are bad arguments.

      For example:
      Appeal to Authority is a logical fallacy, but if I am arguing physics with random dude in a bar, then an appeal to Einstein is a strong argument, even though it is a logical fallacy.

  17. While they’re at it, they might as well establish a provisional voting program.

    1. Hahahaha, that’s a good one. San Francisco wants to allow 16 year olds to vote. They aren’t going to make it harder for young Dems to vote!

      1. The age of majority in a given state should be the lowest age a juvenile has ever been charged as an adult in that state.

        1. One day California will do away with the age of majority and just require each citizen to apply for majority status independently. WCGW?

          1. “I got my learner’s permit for driving this year, but I’m going to have to wait until next year for my sexual adulthood card.”

        2. “Your honor, I know it’s unusual but I want to charge this 64 year old man as a juvenile.”
          “Counsel, why is that?”
          “Your honor, it’s because he voted for Trump.”

        3. No. Just because a douchebag prosecutor wants to stretch the law to go after a particularly heinous act committed by a minor does not mean we need to empower a bunch of children who cannot legally enter contracts with the right to vote, and swell the ranks of the free shit brigade.

          1. The age of majority, not just franchise.

          2. Stop the prosecutors from trying people under 18 as adults, and there won’t be a push to treat them as adults in other areas of life.

        4. So they’ll give an 18 year old an automatic weapon, ship his ass halfway around the world to kill or be killed, but he can’t drive at night?
          Brilliant!!

      2. Proggies appeal to adolescents and they can be trained early to pull that D lever!

  18. “Some folks say it is very restrictive to teens and folks who don’t have experience driving,” Frazier said. “The most restrictive part is the part where they end up in a casket.”

    I hate to tell you this, but if that thing about the casket isn’t sufficient to inspire caution, some words on a piece of paper isn’t likely to get the job done.

  19. We’re all infants, now.

    1. “I’m not a young old man, anymore.”

  20. My home state has a ‘housing crisis’; it seems some people the proggies think ought to live here are priced out. So, obviously, they’re doing everything they can to lower housing costs:

    “Scott Wiener models state solar bill on SF law”
    “Newly sworn-in state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, plans to introduce legislation Monday requiring all new construction in the state to include solar panels.”
    http://www.sfgate.com/search/?…..lar+panels

    The article’s paywalled, but I didn’t want you to think that was fiction. Nope; proggies long ago made National Lampoon a handbook.

    1. Wait. There’s still new construction in SF?

      1. Politicians still accept bribes, and the CA real estate market still reflects 50 years of under building, so yeah.

    2. What a dick!

      1. I never met the guy, but he’s supposedly completely devoid of humor. Probably a life-time supply used up by the second grade.

        1. I assume the state senator or his family and friends are well connected in the solar panel business? I’d actually respect him more if he were using such stupid legislation to wet his beak than not.

  21. If it’s grotesque violation to stop an 18 year old from driving at night, then it’s similar one for the government to do it to a 16 or 17 year old. Too bad no one cared 20+ years ago when these things were being applied to teens.

    1. I missed driving at 14 here in Idaho when they jacked the age up to 15. I’ve argued for years that raising the age limit to drive causes more accidents due to eliminating valuable time spent gaining skills. The response I get is always “but the children!”

  22. Hey, here’s one: maybe if those autistic fucking assholes hadn’t foisted the lame-ass security theater of the TSA on us with increasing fervor, maybe people would not be driving more to avoid the massive intrusive ineffective pain in the ass that is the low-IQ gate agent. And consequently, maybe there would be fewer road fatalities. Chew on that dipshits.

    1. Hmmm, is Jake Stone really Agile Cyborg ON his meds? I see some faint similarities.

      Come clean, Jake!

    2. Gate agents are the airline employees that handle the boarding at the gates, not the TSA smurfs at the security checkpoints.

      1. True enough — I didn’t mean airlines employees, they, for the most part, aren’t complicit in this….

        Jimbo: I don’t think I’m Agile Cyborg…. But I’ll admit, now that I’m on my meds, everything up to this point feels like a 12 Monkeys “was it reality or was it all in my head” cluster-eff of an acid trip…. So who knows? 🙂

  23. This law is just another sorting method. The government uses laws to winnow through the populace, and those with sufficient capital use it to offset or mitigate the costs of the law. Those without sufficient capital are hoovered into the supply chain to provide jobs and power to government employees.

    1. Californians are just a people in search of a boxcar, no?

  24. Shitty graph, using ALL fire arm deaths compared to all auto deaths is BS how many people commit suicide or murder with a car?

  25. They should simply change the age of majority to 29.

  26. Those children between 18 and 21, or are they adults since they’re allowed to vote, can’t possible take care of themselves. We need stronger toilet flushing, dish washing, clothes washing machine laws too; people can’t possibly be smart enough to figure out how to use those machines economically. In fact, let’s outlaw them since we can’t tax their usage. Legislators exempted.

  27. Have the California progs figured out a way to alienate their most reliable demographic? This could turn out to be a win for liberty in the long-term.

  28. This is the sort of over-the-top dictatorial nanny-state regulation which exposes the arrogance of officials that think they should be able to control every part of our daily lives. Driving competence comes from experience, NOT from being forbidden to get that experience. The existing provisional license rules already restrict experience significantly, and perhaps even too far. This over-the-top “we know better because officials are wiser” rule should be rejected entirely.

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

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