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Roadblock to reducing teen carnage

   State lawmakers react to headlines and news stories all the time. Such was the case this year at the Capitol, when lawmakers in both parties introduced more than a dozen measures to try to reduce the carnage on the state's roads at the hands of teen drivers. 

   Around the country, states have been moving to more restrictions for teenage drivers, bowing to research that shows more training over a longer period of time and fewer distractions while driving can sharply reduce the fatality rates.

   But an effort to address the problem died this week with the end of the legislative session. Now, at least one angry parent of a dead teen is vowing revenge: he wants to target those who killed the measures at the ballot box this fall.

   Teen driving issues raise emotional issues on all sides of the debate. Some say the government already overregulates drivers, and that parents need to do a better job of both training their children to drive and monitoring the driving behavior --  from who gets in the car with them to how late they are out -- of their young drivers. Still others --  if reaction to past stories from readers are any indication -- believe today's  teens  are less focused, easily distracted and don't want to take the time to learn how to drive safely.

   Safety officials say the government has a role, and point to research that has persuaded  many other states to move ahead of New York when it comes to restricting teen drivers in their early years on the road.

-- Tom Precious

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