I’m a little confused about The New York Times’ position regarding states’ rights. On one hand, it’s down with California’s desire to enact CO2 emissions regulations that trump national standards. On the other hand, when it comes to teen licensing, it asserts “What the country needs is a uniform set of rules, based on the soundest research. That is the best way to keep teenage drivers, and everyone who shares the roads with them, safer.” The Old Gray Lady argues that “Congress flexed its muscle in the mid-1980s and pressed states to adopt a minimum drinking age of 21. More recently, it did so to pass tougher drunken driving laws. The country’s highways are safer for those efforts. Congress now needs to do the same for teenage driving.” To that end, the paper supports Senator Chris Dodd’s proposal to withhold federal highway funds from states that refuse to set the minimum driving age at 16 and adopt graduated licensing for 16- and 17-year-olds (including nighttime and passenger restrictions). While the Connecticut Senator is prepared to run roughshod over states’ rights in this issue, representatives from more rural regions may make that effort politically problematic.
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