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Stop hassling all kids on driving

Stop hassling all kids on driving

Stephen Franks

Tuesday, 2 August 2005 Press Releases - Crime & Justice

ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks today urged young people to tell politicians who clamour for more restrictions on young drivers to "go and pick on someone else for a change.

"They are just greedy for headlines at election time, and a multiple fatality crash is what the news ghouls look for" he said.

"This is a typical case of politicians wanting to be seen to be busy by bringing in new restrictions on everyone when it is only a few who cause problems. I am not surprised that National has joined in demanding an increase in the minimum driving age. They pretend to care about freedom and personal responsibility, but in practice regulate just as stupidly as Labour.

"There is no evidence that the peak in the age for injury accidents would not simply shift up by the number of years by which the minimum starting age is increased. There is plenty of evidence that it would hurt responsible young people who need to drive to work, for example.

"It is time to stop raiding the law as a drug cabinet for every ill. Young people have always found ways to take risks. The consequences when it goes wrong are obvious. It is a complete waste of resources to have the police combing the wreckage looking for someone to prosecute every time there is an accident. Of course there must be a law to protect innocent third parties, but ACT stands against law that has no purpose other than to protect people from their own risk-taking," Mr Franks said.

"I am not surprised that boy racers are thumbing their noses at the law. I am glad they still have the spirit to do it. They are wrapped in cotton wool at school and at work, deprived by OSH and other liability fears of many of the chances to practise risks under adult supervision which my generation had.

"Car accidents get the attention, but there is much more damage to kids who choose glue sniffing, for drugtaking, or boozing on a benefit, as their choice of risky behaviour. It is time for New Zealanders to ask whether this self-harm is not a symptom of over regulation and lack of challenge in a corrupting welfare featherbed.

'I lost a young brother at age 16 and I know the grief it caused my family, but none of us would have demanded a law change to stop him taking the risks he took. Someone needs to stand up for the spirited kids who go too far, provided it is just themselves they hurt," Mr Franks said.


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