October 27, 2015
In the eyes of teens, curfews are put in place to hinder rather than protect their well-being. In actuality, curfews entrust teens with responsibility while guarding their innocence from mature activity.
Curfew laws vary between states and counties, but most commonly teenagers 17 and younger must be home by 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11:59 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the number of violent crimes committed by adults increases after 6 a.m., peaking at 10 p.m. In contrast, violent crimes by teenagers peak at 3 to 4 p.m., the hours following the school day.
“I support curfew laws, because if I’m out too late I know that I can only cause more trouble because I’m vulnerable to danger,” junior Lyndsey Whilby said.
Most nefarious activities 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. include crime, gang activity, drug usage, and alcohol. Adults out during these hours do not take responsibility for teens, making the teen susceptible to peer pressure.
In a study found on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website, about 23 percent of drivers ages 15 to 20 who died in car crashes had a blood alcohol count of 0.08 or higher. About 30 percent of teens reported they were a car passenger with a driver who had been drinking alcohol, while one in 10 teens said that they personally drove after drinking alcohol. When a teen breaks curfew, their parents initially receive a warning, and if the teen re-offends they are subject to a $1,000 fine or up to 60 days in jail.
“Eliminating curfew laws would make general safety dependent on individual parents setting rules for their teens,” Law and Justice teacher Suling Beck said. “If there were no curfew laws teens would become chaotic. There would be a lot more crimes committed by adolescents.”
The Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act grants driving privileges to teens 15 to 18. At age 15, a instructional permit may be used under the supervision of a passenger that is 21. Drivers who are 16 to 18 can receive a class D license which restricts driving between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m.
“Being out later than curfew can cause teens to engage in illegal activities because there isn’t a lot of people around to see what their doing,” Cobb County Sheriff’s Deputy officer Sara Saeed said. “They can come in contact with people who might not give them good advice which can lead to mischief.”
Curfews teach teens responsibility by giving them leisure from direct parental supervision; however, they are most beneficial because they set a boundary between after hour uncertainty and easily-swayed innocent minds.