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Teenagers have rights, too

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"The slew of new laws clamping down on teens is easy politically because teens exercise little clout at the polls."

When I read this line in your article, "New countrywide laws crack down on teens" (June 30, 1998), I was very frustrated. The laws they are talking about are going to restrain teenagers on where, when and how we drive. They are also slapping a tag on who we drive with.Now this, to me, is very stupid. I am almost 15. Granted, I don't drive yet, but it is not that far away, and I have many friends who have their licenses already. Driving for many teens is a freedom that we cherish. In fact, so do our parents. I am positive that all of you parents out there are getting tired of playing chauffeur or bus driver to your children and their friends. My mom loves the fact that I am able to get rides with my friends, and she adores the promise that I will one day be able to run errands for her.

The politicians say that a major reason for "cracking down" on these new laws is to serve as a "wake up call" to the teenage group to show up on Election Day and cast our votes. Again, not fair. The legal age to receive a license to drive is 16 years of age. The legal age to be allowed to cast your vote in the election box is 18 years of age.

How is this fair? I am a teenager, but I am not allowed to vote. I do love this country, but I have no say whatsoever in how it is run.

I know a lot of adults think teens are hoodlums, out there only to cause grief. But please believe me when I say those who do cause trouble are of the minority. Most of us go about our own business, working toward the day when we can more effectively voice our opinions. My hope is that when that day finally comes for me, I will be able to drive proudly to that election office, without the help of mommy.

Kathy Leslie