Driver’s Ed

The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again:

TMQ urged drivers’ ed teachers to teach young people not to drive in caravans, which cause distractions and crashes. Daniel Barbour of Richmond, Va., notes in a comment that could apply to the laws of many states, “Virginia’s new laws regarding the number of passengers new drivers are allowed to have in their cars actually promote caravan driving by young drivers. Virginia’s laws state that: ‘If you are under 18 and hold a learner’s permit or a driver’s license, Virginia law says you may only carry one passenger who is under age 18 while you hold a permit and during the first year that you drive. After that, you may only carry three passengers who are under age 18, until you reach age 18.’ While the obvious intent of this law is to help prevent the new driver from becoming distracted by passengers, my personal experience with this a few years ago while I was that age is that this law indirectly promotes caravan driving, which as you pointed out is a very big distraction, especially for the lead driver. For example, if a group of six friends under the age of roughly 18 — it depends on how old they were when they obtained their licenses, otherwise the three-passenger rule might be in effect — want to drive somewhere, they are essentially legally required to take three separate cars, all of which will inevitably follow each other around town, caravan-style. By trying to remove one distraction from teen drivers, state legislatures have practically mandated another.”

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