If teens ticketed, parents will know
Note from state patrol
By Walter C. Jones | Morris News Service | Story updated at 12:40 AM on Friday, October 6, 2006
ATLANTA - Tattling must be on Gov. Sonny Perdue's "Sonny-do list" because he announced Thursday that teenage drivers who get a speeding ticket also will get a note sent to their parents.
The idea, Perdue said, is to give parents information about what their young drivers are doing so that parents can exert some influence.
"Parents often never know when their child has received a traffic citation until insurance premiums increase or when their child's driver's license has been suspended," he said.
Georgia State Patrol troopers will gather mailing information whenever they issue a ticket or warning to a driver younger than age 18. The sample text given to reporters includes the child's speed and the speed limit as well as a half page of sobering statistics, such as "motor-vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers."
Public Safety Commissioner Bill Hitchens said parents have more influence over their child's behavior than anyone else.
"We hope this notification program can help initiate a dialog regarding the dangers of unsafe driving," he said.
But parent Jenny Camp of Norcross doesn't think it's needed.
"As the mother of an 18-year-old boy, I would think I would know about it anyway," Camp said. "I don't personally think it will be much of a deterrence."
Political observers speculated that Perdue's official announcement was aimed at winning votes from parents, especially women.
And Perdue's letter-writing won't impress his opponent in November's election, Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, who has continued to hammer the Republican incumbent about his school funding.
"We think Sonny Perdue should write letters to every parent apologizing for cutting their schools by more than $1 billion," said Taylor spokesman Rick Dent in an e-mail response to a request for a comment.
Education is another important issue to women voters, surveys show. Perdue's administration has increased school funding by $1 billion over the last four years, but that is about half as much growth as called for by the state's long-standing per-pupil funding formula.
Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 100606