Warning Letter To Young Drivers Rankles Some Parents

Jul 20, 2012

Get a traffic ticket, get a letter of reprimand from the Department of Licensing. That’s how it works in Washington if you are a driver between the ages of 16 and 21. The letter-writing campaign is designed to reduce crashes among younger drivers. But some parents don’t appreciate it.

The letter to young drivers starts out: “Not cool: your driving record shows that you were found to have committed the following traffic violation.” The warning comes from the Washington Department of Licensing.

It goes on to say that research shows young drivers who get a ticket are twice as likely to be involved in a crash.

At first Washington was sending these letters to just 16 and 17-year-olds. But last year the program expanded to include another high-risk group of drivers -- 18 to 21-year-olds.

Now Licensing is getting some letters back from irked parents. Tonya Pettit started her letter: “Not cool: Harassment.”

“My daughter went to court, she paid her ticket, she didn’t deserve to receive additional reprimand," Pettit says. "It’s just not necessary.”

Pettit says Licensing should focus on “serious lawbreakers,” not teens going a few miles over the speed limit.

The agency says its goal is not to “chastise” but to let young drivers know that “poor choices can have serious and even deadly consequences.”

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

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