Breaking the law?

Ok, so this is something that has be nagging at me for a very long time.

My sister is 16 years old, and got her driver’s license a couple months ago. Apparently is it against the law for someone to drive around minors without an adult present until they have had their license for one year. Despite that, she has been driving me most everywhere (I am 15 years old).

She does have a permit to drive me to and from school and school activities, but not technically anywhere else. Her and my parent’s argument is that the law is mainly just to prevent people from making a 17 year old the “designated driver” late at night, not to keep someone from driving her sister to the supermarket. Also, the law is not really enforced at all. Cops are not allowed to pull you over for having a minor in the car; they can only pull you over for something such as speeding, and then if you do have a minor in the car you are double-busted. However, from what I hear, many cops will not even trouble you for having a minor even if you are pulled over for something else, which leads one to believe it is not a very important law.

It’s difficult for me to get a ride anywhere if she does not drive me, because my mom hates to drive and my sister wants more driving practice. She even drives me to church sometimes, which I think is kind of twisted. Thankfully though, nowadays I most always ride my bike to church. But truly anywhere else they expect her to drive me.

Is this mortal sin? It’s a tough spot, because there are some situations, and then there are others. For instance, let’s say my bike got stolen, and there was no other way for me to get to mass unless she drove me. Would it be sinful then? or a lighter situation, like if I promised my friend I would come over, and then the day of my sister said she would drive me. What do I do in these circumstances?

Hi Butaperson,

You are in a really tough spot.

I live in Wisconsin, and we have the same law.

It is actually to protect the young driver who is just starting out, and those around them too, because statistics show that they get in more accidents while they are still new at driving, basically. It is wrong of your parents to put your sister and you in this predicament. I can see where your sister is thinking that this is great for her, as she gets more practice, but these laws are created for a reason.

You are correct in thinking that this is wrong on all sides, because it is. If your sister gets stopped by the police for any reason, she could get in a lot of trouble.

As to it being a sin on you for going with her, I would ask the priest the next time that you go to confession. Please don’t think that I am trying to place blame on you. It is that I don’t know, and it is only that your priest is the best one to help you in this situation. That is why I am suggesting it.

It sounds to me like you don’t have much of a choice right now, due to what your parents are doing to both you and your sister, and it is more like you are kind of forced into this situation, in a way.

However, ask your priest to be sure. He can help you.

And, if you have the option to ride your bike as much as possible, and to stay out of the situation, that is what I would do.

I think that you have a great conscience for really trying to think through this situation.

I would also talk with your parents because the last thing they want is their 16 year old to get into trouble. I don’t know how it works in your state, but it is best to be safe than sorry,

What State do you live in? In Michigan and I have 2 sons so I know, it is a graduated licence. The first one a new drivers get level one, the teenager can only drive with their driving parent or another full license driving adult. Level 2 is after level 1 and the teenager can now drive on their own with a number of restictions. They can’t be out after 10pm or before 5am, they can only drive younger family members like yourself. They can’t drive more than one non-family member at a time. Level 3 which is obtained after a year on level 2 broadens it even more. So your parents having your sister dirve you to Church, or pick from school is not a sin and from what you describe is legal. The more one drives, the better they get and if these things are simple shorter distances and they are having her do it then it is perfectly fine. Since you didn’t go through the drivers training classes, I think you should be grateful there is another driver in the home to help out you out. Your sister is willing, I think you should thank her. You mentioned that you don’t think the police do anything but if there was an accident and they look at her drivers licence, they will know if something is being done wrong and will enforce the law. You are mistaken there.

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