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Ontario Gov't Reverses on Young Drivers in Light of Facebook Protests

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Tuesday December 09, 2008
The Ontario government has dropped plans to create new restrictions on young drivers in light of huge criticism on Facebook.  A Facebook group criticizing the plan garnered 150,000 members and Transportation Minister Jim Bradley admitted that the group had an impact on the government's thinking.
Comments (13)add comment

Ross Fattori said:

Ontario government should not have backed down
I think that the government’s decision to back down on the new driver proposal sets a dangerous precedent in determining how new ideas are viewed by the public and politicians. What would have happened if Facebook was around during the 1970s, when seat belt legislation was first introduced? Or in the 1980s when provincial governments began cracking down on drinking and driving?

Teens and parents argued that limiting the number of occupants with young drivers would be hugely inconvenient, especially in rural areas. The message is clear: It’s okay to pack young people into vehicles and send them onto the roads, where they face a proportionately higher risk of causing a fatal accident, so long as nobody is inconvenienced.

Why are we allowing teenagers to dictate what traffic laws are introduced into legislation anyway? In this case, the Ontario government should have done the right thing and tabled this legislation, regardless of the number of protestors who signed up on Facebook.

When making decisions that affect the lives of motorists, politicians should stick more to their consciences and rely less on the consensus of social networking sites. Sometimes unpopular decisions must be made.
December 10, 2008

Up the age said:

Here is a better proposal
Lower the drinking age to 18 and raise the driving age to 21.

Driving requires far more responsibility. Also, by the time you are 21 you know how much you may drink if the drinking age is lowered.

This restriction would also lower the number of cars on our roads and reduce the number of accidents.
December 10, 2008

Rob said:

...
But the "New Rules" are pretty much the same as the young driver rules that BC has in place.
Why cant it be one unified system?
December 10, 2008

Xetheriel said:

Re: Ontario government should not have backed down
@ Ross Fattori:

I agree. I was somewhat disapointed in hearing the about face on the issue. Inconvenience should never be the basis for a change in legislation. Speaking as a commuter myself, and having seen my share of horrible accidents, I think this is a slap in the face to all those voters out there who drive the roads every day.
December 10, 2008

Jennifer Jilks said:

shameful to back down
I agree with Ross. I really liked the new rules. It was a rule we had in our house for our teen drivers. Young kids, until driving is a habit, need to concentrate. The BIG accidents seem to be when kids are showing off. Senior drivers and young people have as many accidents.Seniors are tested annually once they are of a certain age.
In backing down, to a group of non-voters, struck me as funny. Kids were never hurt by rules. They are meant to protect and draw attention to the hazards.
December 10, 2008

AB said:

I disagree with Ross
It's easy to agree with laws that don't directly affect you. I know you keep calling them teenagers (maybe to diminish their rigts) but large proportion of them are young adults that vote, work, vaulateer, as well as die in the army, etc. I don't disagree with the statistics but to say that govenment should make broad reaching laws without consulting a group which they will directly affect is totaly wrong. Also following your logic anyone if you're afraid to drive along these teenagers then you are welcome to take public transit, or is that too inconvinent for you?

This is an education problem that should be solved by educating young drivers. The current Canadian system for diver training is pathetic. IMHO driver's ed (the read, write part) should be part of highschool curriculum and include social aspects of driving. Following that with long time in the car with professional driver trainer, and stringiet testing afterwards. Nothing should be optional.

The problem is that the government would have to take the responsibility for education, it's much easer for them to create some laws and put the responsibility on the people.
December 10, 2008

Up the age said:

Teenagers can take the bus
"It's easy to agree with laws that don't directly affect you. I know you keep calling them teenagers "

Teenagers can take the bus / live in a more sustainable neighborhood, and not in one of those where "everything is a drive away".

"large proportion of them are young adults that vote..."

Driving is more responsibility than voting, it affects your safety and of those sharing the road with you.
December 10, 2008

Up the age said:

driving is a privilege, not a right
And I won't repeat that driving is a privilege, not a right.
December 10, 2008

MB said:

contradiction
so you who oppose the reversal would rather have more drunk teenagers driving around than having one person drive those people home? cause realistically, half of the people at a party are not going to be sober. and what about trying to carpool and everything for the environment? it doesn't make sense you all contradict yourselves
December 10, 2008

Ash said:

RE: contradiction
EXACTLY! This is a law that sounded great, before you started thinking about it. I'm a third year Computer Science student at a university, and I carpool to my co-ops, but this law would restrict that: No carpooling, no being the DD, no driving my friends to go get groceries instead of walking.
Restricting the rights or privileges of only one specific group in society is prejudice, regardless of the reasoning behind it. If you had replaced "teenagers and young adults" with "jews" or "blacks" because their statistics were higher for accidents, it'd be wrong. But it's OK for young adults?
December 12, 2008

DB said:

...
I think the proposed restrictions would have been grounds for discrimination. The reason there is a tolerance is to account for measurement error. The idea of "zero-tolerance", while theoretically appealing, is technically infeasible. Drunk driving is a really serious offense in Canada. I don't think otherwise responsible young people should face the possibility of going to jail because a police officer didn't properly calibrate his instrument or a young adult had one of Grandma's Christmas rum balls after dinner.

Maybe the tolerance could be lowered, but there has to be some tolerance, and it doesn't make any sense for it to be any different for drivers of different ages. Ideally, NO driver should be on the road after drinking. The reality is our police should be focusing on the drivers who are the most likely to hurt themselves and others on the road and the cases they are most likely to win. A tolerance of 0.08 does this.
December 12, 2008

Michael MacDougall said:

Driving vs Voting
Voting is the supreme authority in any democracy by voting citizens elect governments that can enact legislation. The Japanese that were forced into camps by law in WWII might disagree with you on the responsiblility suffrage entails as would the Germans and Poles that were forced into labour camps in WWI. Voting is far more responsibility in any democracy than driving.
December 15, 2008

Mike said:

WOW
Are you people crazy, holy smokes! Do you really wanna limit the amount of passengers? Lets say one teen wants to go to the movies with 9 other friends so 10 in total. That would take 2 cars, but nooooo you want them to only have 2 per car, so right there, there's going to be 5 cars. Do you really want another 2 cars of teens on the road or another 5 cars, less teen driving = less accidents & pollution & conjestion. God, you guys have to think about the bigger picture.
January 12, 2009

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