Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens. Young drivers are involved in fatal crashes at more than twice the rate of all other age groups. In Colorado, 16-year-old drivers have the highest rate of crashes of any group in the state and are nearly three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than the average of all other drivers.
John told me about legislation pending right now in the Colorado House of Representatives that would impose a fee on every licensed driver (including teenagers) who takes a driving improvement class, of which there are a number around the state. This fee would be assessed whether a person voluntarily signs up for the class to improve their skills, or if they’ve been order by a court to take the class because of various offenses.
This legislation is an attempt to fix a problem created by a law passed last year to assess this fee on persons court-ordered to take a driver improvement class. The state couldn’t figure out a way to separate out and track these court-ordered cases from people taking the classes because they want to. Instead, the state is now proposing to take the easy way out – just assess the fee on everyone.
John tells me that if passed, this bill would seriously hurt the mission of Alive at 25 and others. In many cases, organizations that provide driver-improvement classes (such as Alive at 25) would see significant declines in enrollments. He says some courts already have stopped ordering defendants to take the classes due to the added cost of the existing fee.
In my office we see the carnage every day – car accidents, hurt people, damaged lives. It’s hard enough to share the suffering of our clients, but it’s even worse when the client is a teenager. The last thing I want to see is even more.
I’m joining John in asking that you call or email your state representative and senator and urge them to vote ‘No’ on House Bill 1420. For contact information for your legislators, go to www.votesmart.org/index.htm and enter your zip code.