Monday, August 1, 2005

Brake and Blink--Teen Driver

I would like to personally thank the senator that passed the bill mandating that all drivers must attend a drivers education class.

In the beginning I thought it was a good idea that all teen drivers are required to know how to drive before they set off on the state’s highways. But, now I have a 15 ½ year old pre-driver and I’m disconcerted to find that the law applies to us. What were they thinking? I am told over the grape vine (my teen’s peers) that she must drive six months before she can apply for a license, and to drive she must get a learners permit.

We go to the licensing division. We stand in an hour long line and finally reach the sign on the wall inside that tells what forms and documentation we should have in order to even qualify to stand in the line. Oops. Back now with a minimum of information, proof that her school offers drivers ed., proof that she is alive, (birth certificate) and proof that she is a citizen of the United States (a social security number), we again rejoin the line with other kids her age and compare notes with them. “Is this all we need?” They aren’t sure either. She makes it through the gauntlet and takes a written test (computerized and multiple choice), and misses three, which is almost the limit I’m told, by the guy ahead of me who has taken the test four times and missed six and who finally decided to study for it.

Then I ask the examiner when can she drive, what time of day, and with whom? The examiner doesn’t know, They tell me to ask when we walk across to the tag agency, where we will pay and get her permit. When we do, they don’t know either.

So, here I am, with a new teen driver with no experience and with a brand new permit ready and roaring to go. Rumor has it, again through the grape vine that she can drive with anyone over 21 in the front seat! That’s all she needs to know! She’s off. Which is the gas pedal again?

Sometime in the near future, she hope to get her driving permit, so eventually she’ll have to show up to some drivers education class and the teacher will proceed to undo the mistakes I’ve drilled into her brain. It may take years of deprogramming to correct the mistakes, and until then, I wonder if the senators have made the roads any safer? I don’t know. Maybe someday I’ll look up the law and see what the bill maker really intended. But until then, we’re driving.

P.S. Does anyone have a magnetic sticker for the back of my car that says, “Warning: Passenger Side Driver”. This car brakes, turns, and blinks for no apparent reason.