Did you think that I forgot? In the 40-something weeks that I have been doing these, this is the first time that my e-mail has not gone out on a Monday. A few reasons: a) I wondered if I might have some Memorial Day inspiration so I waited; 2) I started a new work-our routine and Sunday night I could barely lift my arms let alone write an entire email; and 3) I was just plain lazy. I admit it, sometimes even I get tired. But here I am, please don’t hold it against me.
And for those of you who actually read the subject lines of the emails, they always have some meaning. Since I just got home from the Dodger game, maybe you can understand the subject line of this week’s email.
Now, on to the matter at hand. Last week I gave you some suggestions as to how to fix the system of jury duty. I appreciated your thoughts and, umm, criticisms, so I felt emboldened and thought I might tackle another topic of concern, the reckless and dangerous world of teen driving.
What brought this on? I live in a community that is rife with young families. It is a great breeding ground for the PTA, neighborhood watch, and community pride. But it is also a community that every year is faced with hundreds of new drivers. I see them everyday on my way to work and on my way home. And frankly, my friends, I am scared to death. I was once a teen driver myself, and I don’t trust them to be safe, especially when there are so many young families walking their dogs, running together, or riding their bikes. So I figured I would give it a shot to address the problems.
I don’t know the statistics, but I know that young drivers account for a significant cross-section of accidents and injuries with vehicles. They can be reckless, experiencing their first taste of freedom, the freedom to go wherever they want, and however fast they want.
Here are my thoughts, and again, I appreciate your comments.
I have two alternative ideas. First, raise the driving age from 16 to 18. I know, when I was 15 1/2 I had heard the rumors that the driving age would be raised and I dreaded hearing the news that I would have to wait 2 extra years to drive. As a father now, I feel more like a responsible adult. You don’t want the driving age raised, youngins, then be more responsible drivers at 16. If you are 15 and the driving age is raised, the only people you have to blame are your friends the 16 year olds who you think are cool because they get to drive fast. They are making it worse for all of you.
If you don’t want to raise the driving age, then here is another thought: you will only be allowed a driver’s license if you have a job. At 16 you can have a part-time job, even a job in which you can only work on weekends (for the athletes who can’t work during the week). Why do I think having a job should be a pre-requisite? Because having a job shows an appreciation for responsibility. I truly believe that the reason why teenagers are sometimes reckless drivers is because they do not appreciate the responsibility of being a licensed driver. Now, I don’t know the statistics of how many teenagers have to buy their first cars and how many are just plain given them as gifts, and I don’t know how many have to pay the insurance or gas or repairs or any other expenses of having a car. But when you get your first paycheck and come to grips with how much work it took to get that paycheck, I think you might think twice before you speed or drive recklessly. Having an accident or getting a ticket means a lot of those hours working.
Ok, as I said, I am tired, so I will leave it at that for now. I will leave you all with one parting thought: Having a driver’s license is a privilege, not a right. And that privilege is subject to the driver’s compliance with the laws. That also means that the DMV can create its own regulations for allowing membership into the driver’s fraternity.
Have a great week, all of you.