Drive along, Minnesota

Teen driving deaths do not require new driving laws.

A string of youth driving tragedies in Minnesota has prompted WCCO to ask âÄúIs 16 too young to drive?âÄù and the Star Tribune Editorial Board to declare âÄúState needs stiffer road rules for teens.âÄù Such kneejerk democratic deliberations threaten not only teenagers eager for their first free-wheelinâÄô summer, they should worry the liberal and freedom-minded among us. When a worried and hasty protective political class can rouse a call for reform out of coincidental triple tragedy, it indicates the existence of a scripted polity. The headlines above drove us to wonder if the news and opinion writers had even read the stories from which theyâÄôd derived their latest public safety campaign. The drivers in question, it appears, had not even followed what laws were already on the books. For example, in the Cambridge crash, the driver was operating a vehicle past the legal 12 a.m. timeframe and had too many underage passengers in the car. Yet, Sen. Amy Klobuchar took the cue, announcing her sponsorship of the STANDUP Act, which would require drivers be 16 before getting a learnerâÄôs permit and grant a three-stage licensing process to the federal government. Senator, letâÄôs not make a pile-up out of a fender bender. Minnesota can manage its own driverâÄôs licenses; the stateâÄôs roadways are quite safe for teens, contrary to what our protective metro dailies suggest. MinnPostâÄôs Eric Black corrected them over the weekend: âÄúTeens in Minnesota are substantially less likely to die in car crashes than are teens nationally.âÄù LetâÄôs relax and remember that in life, accidents happen. ItâÄôs time to hit the brakes on political opportunities in exaggerated crisis. Drive along.