Some Tragedies Parents, Lawmakers Can Prevent

The recent traffic-related deaths of six teenagers with roots in Howard and Montgomery counties are grim reminders of just how precious and fragile a young life can be.

As the mother of a teenager, I know all too well the anxiety a parent feels when a newly licensed driver puts the car in gear and pulls away. As a legislator, I am also sadly aware that traffic accidents are the leading cause of death of young adults in this country.

Last year, I co-sponsored legislation that would have prohibited unrelated minors from riding in cars driven by provisional license holders younger than 18 for the first six months after the license is issued. Unfortunately, the legislation did not pass, and we'll never know if it would have made a difference in the lives of these young people who were lost in such senseless, preventable tragedies.

But parents don't need a state mandate to place restrictions on their own children who may be driving or riding in cars with their friends. I urge every parent to set practical ground rules with their children. It may save their lives.

How many more young lives are we willing to sacrifice? When I reintroduce this legislation in the upcoming session, I hope my colleagues will answer none by voting for its passage. I hope Howard County residents will answer none also, by setting limits with their young drivers before handing over the keys to the car.

Sandra B. Schrader

State Senator (R-Howard)