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Danger Ahead By Rabbi Yair Hoffman

Abraham, our forefather, had ten Nisyonos or challenges in his life.  There is great debate among the biblical commentaries at to which particular incidents in his life constituted these ten challenges. But all agree that there were ten.  By the same token, many contemporary experts agree that one of the greatest challenges in the lives of New York State teen agers is known as “MV262.”

What is MV262?  If you do not know what it is, then you are not a teen-ager. Nor are you living with a teen-ager who is pining to receive his or her driver’s license.  But we will not hold you in suspense.

Every driver license applicant who is 16 or 17 years old at the time of the road test, and who has a junior learner permit, must present this certification to the DMV license examiner at the time of the road test. The certification must be signed by a parent or guardian.

What does the certificate say?  It states that the applicant has 50 hours of driving practice, including fifteen hours after sunset.  Signing the document constitutes a huge moral challenge for many.

But it shouldn’t. 

It should be a no-brainer that it is halachically forbidden to sign this document falsely.  Not only is it an absolute lie, but signing such a paper falsely constitutes what is called a “hezek to the Rabbim” – a grave danger to the public.

Every year, unfortunately, there are horrific accidents caused by inexperienced drivers.  The fifty hour requirement constitutes an attempt on the part of the authorities to minimize deaths and accidents caused by inexperienced drivers.

The halachic issues range from “MiDvar Sheker Tirchak – stay far away from a false matter” to “VeNishmartem me’od b’nafshosaichem – be exceedingly careful in matters of danger” to “Lo sasim damim bevaichesa – do not place a dangerous item in your home.”  It may even constitute theft in that you are stealing the right to be on the public road.  Certainly, it is g’naivas da’as – tricking people, a serious issue in and of itself.  All of these are quite serious matters.

This is not just the view of this author, it has been backed by leading Poskim.    The exact wording of the form that is being signed is found below.

“I certify that I am the parent or guardian of the applicant named above. I also certify that the applicant has completed at least 50 hours of supervised driving, including 15 hours after sunset. I understand that some or all of the required supervised driving hours may have been completed with a licensed driving school instructor or driver education teacher, and that these hours may be certified on the reverse side of this form. I certify that any supervised driving hours that were not completed with a licensed driving school instructor or driver education teacher were completed: 1) under the immediate supervision of a person at least 21 years of age who holds a license that is valid in New York State to operate the type of vehicle that was used, and 2) in compliance with any regional restrictions applicable to driving with a junior learner permit in that area. I understand that falsifying any information on this certification may be a crime (felony or misdemeanor), punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or both.”

The author can be reached at yairhoffman2@gmail.com

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Posted by on July 30, 2012. Filed under Jewish News,Slider. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.