Supporters Rally in D.C. For Teen Driving Measure

Thursday, May 7, 2009

With prom season and springtime joyrides on their minds, advocates of safe driving gathered last month on Capitol Hill to support federal legislation that would tighten licensing requirements for teenagers.

U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Montgomery County Police Capt. Thomas C. Didone and others rallied April 23 in support of the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act.

The Standup Act would require states to institute a graduated licensing program or face the loss of some highway and transportation funding.

"Immaturity, inexperience and invincibility" are the cause of teen wrecks, said Didone, who stood inches in front of a mashed blue Volvo station wagon.

Didone's 15-year-old son Ryan died in October in a crash involving the Volvo. Ryan, a sophomore at Damascus High School, was a passenger in the car when it hit a tree in northern Montgomery. The other four teens in the car were injured. Of the five, only the driver and another passenger had been wearing seat belts.

Lawmakers in Maryland recently approved legislation to make its graduated licensing system conform with the federal proposal.


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