Support isn't sprouting on the farm

News AASHTO Journal March 20, 2001
Printer-friendly version





Time-honored practices on family farms may stand in the way of Georgia Governor Roy Barnes' proposal--made against a sharp incr

Time-honored practices on family farms may stand in the way of Georgia Governor Roy Barnes' proposal--made against a sharp increase in deaths among the state's teen drivers--to increase the driving age from 16 to 17.


The New York Times has reported a state senate committee agreed to raise the driving age in five counties around Atlanta. Georgia's largest urban area has seen a doubling in deaths among recently licensed young drivers, with 19 fatalities involving 16 year olds in the Atlanta area last year. In 1999, more than 20% of drivers under the age of 18 were involved in crashes.


Many Georgia lawmakers predict Barnes' proposal will be defeated because of the need in rural areas for farm families to have their teens drive trucks and farm equipment to accomplish farming chores.


Even though Barnes' bill was drawn from the outset to affect only teens in the metro area, many rural lawmakers oppose even that much erosion in the access of youths to vehicles. According to the Times, the rate of teen drivers involved in accidents is even higher in rural counties.


Traffic experts explain the rural differential as a consequence of longer distances between towns, winding, tree-lined roads, fewer drivers who have taken formal instruction and a tendency not to use seat belts.


Overlay Init