Possibly as yet another provision put in place by the chronologically superior group that has silenced and puppeteered the government into passing laws restricting the younger generation, Kyleigh’s Law (official document) was passed last year and will take effect on May 1, 2010, with its most outstanding provision being the $4 orange decal that will become mandatory as a “mark of shame” to be placed on the license plates of all drivers under the age of 21.
From the initial petition proposal backing bill A4021, the bill is designed to:
1) assist law enforcement in identifying an infraction;
2) will also help with the peer pressure of driving reckless[sic] and/or having more passengers than allowed;
3) with the car marked young drivers will know that they can be easily identified and will refrain from taking the risk
Proponents of the new measure claim that the it is “one of the most significant steps forward in teen driver safety”, remarking that not only does it allow officials to more easily identify potential law-breakers who may not be complying with the probationary license restrictions, but also serves as a psychological warning to drivers (which seems to be the primary goal). The law does have certain additional measures meant to reduce automobile accident rates, such as the prohibition of electronic device usage by the driver while operating a vehicle, but also incorporates other, more controversial changes such as the re-institution of a 11:00 curfew for all drivers holding a provisional (now called probationary) license.
While the law may seem okay at first glance for people who are not directly affected, the decal’s uncanny resemblance to the yellow Star of David that Jews were forced to wear by law in Nazi Germany calls into question the true purpose of such a measure: Why is it necessary to display such a prominent feature on cars that is not only visible to officials, but to every other driver and pedestrian in the vicinity? Various valid objections were indeed raised, such as the potential for predators to easily identify teenage drivers and the near certainty that teenage drivers will be pulled over far more frequently than before, not to mention that the red sticker may act as a “red light” that causes other drivers to avoid vehicles tagged with it.
Unfortunately, the officials are silent on that issue. Its consequence of furthering age profiling and discrimination is also conveniently ignored, perhaps because the law was introduced, modified, and signed by people who are completely unaffected by it, completely neglecting the opinion of people to whom it will actually apply. Perhaps it is the reason why I see no measure requiring elderly drivers to display prominent stickers/flags/beacons on their cars; people who hand down laws like loose leaf sheets will be more reluctant to do so if it’ll affect themselves in some way.
Just what can be done to protest such a measure? There is little hope for a repeal, and the online petition against the law is unfortunately full of misspellings and sensationalist ranting, and thus will likely be ignored as it holds no legal strength in the judicial system. Thus, an amendment to the legal document is the most preferable outlet.
To address the most prominent issues and objections raised against this bill, I propose:
- The replacement of the scarlet letter-esque stickers with encrypted RFID tags, making the means of identification accessible to officials for the stated purpose, but not civilian predators.
- The abolition of the 11:00 P.M. curfew or the institution of an accessible provision for drivers to obtain exemptions to the rule for employment or personal needs.
- The removal of age-specific provisional license restrictions for purposes other than to identify the driver as under the legal drinking age, for they are no different from the racial or sexual profiling and segregation that has plagued our country for centuries.