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Teen Drivers and Alcohol

March 20, 1993

Congratulations on your editorial supporting the National Transportation Safety Board's recommendations on zero blood-alcohol tolerance level for teen-agers and curfews for novice teen-aged drivers.

It was unfortunate that 10 years ago The Times opposed curfews for youthful drivers (see your editorial "Why Curfew for Teen Drivers?" May 25, 1983). How many youthful drivers would be alive today if we had solid support in 1983 for curfews? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety studied research data from four states--Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland and Louisiana--in 1983 and found that "curfew laws restricting the night-time driving of young drivers substantially reduces the crash involvement of those drivers."

The recommendations of zero blood-alcohol tolerance level and a midnight to 5 a.m. curfew should be incorporated into the laws now on the books related to the teen-aged "provisional license." We should not wait 10 more years to send a message to youthful drivers on how serious it is that they become responsible and safe drivers on our state's roadways. All of our lives depend on it!

JERRY L. GAINES

San Pedro

Gaines is former president of the California Assn. for Safety Education.

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