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Going After Teens is Senseless

A terrible tragedy happened a couple of weeks ago, when repeat drunk driver Scott Owens killed four Santa Fe area teens:

Teen driving is in the spotlight after a June 28 crash that left four teenagers dead. Law enforcement authorities say Scott Owens had a blood-alcohol content of .16 nearly four hours after he crashed into a car with five teens inside.

The only teen to survive the crash on Old Las Vegas Highway was driving on a provisional license. Holders of those licenses are barred from driving between midnight and 5 a.m., and from driving with more than one other person under 21 in the car who is not an immediate family member.

The driver, 16-year-old Avree Koffman, didn’t have alcohol in her system, authorities said.

The problem here is not teen drivers. The problems is that we allow habitual drunks to get back on the road time and time again instead of locking them up. Case in point this guy with six DWI’s on record:

48-year-old arrested Wednesday still hasn’t been charged in July 4 accident.

Calvin Finch, 48, of Aztec, was arrested Wednesday for his sixth DWI, just 11 days after he was involved in a crash that killed 62-year-old Harry Irvin, whose motorcycle was struck by Finch’s pickup truck at the intersection of U.S. 550 and San Juan County Road 2105, the Farmington Daily Times reported.

Yet, rather than tackle the tough problems head on, some lawmakers want to go after the vast majority of law abiding teens out there:

In the wake of the crash, some lawmakers are thinking about changes to state law that might help keep teen drivers off the streets during prohibited hours.

Rep. Brian Egolf, a Santa Fe Democrat, said he’s considering a bill under which teen drivers with restricted licenses would have to display a marker on their car, such as a bright yellow triangle in the back window.

Give me a break. Studies referenced in the article have not come up with any concrete evidence that further restricting teen driving makes a difference. Keeping our kids from driving when they are not supposed to be driving is a parental responsibility, not a police responsibility.

Lawmakers, like Representative Egolf, should focus on passing legislation that puts habitual drunk drivers behinds bars, not taking away parental rights.