I work with a small group of 14-17-year-old Varsity and Venturer Scouts.
Two of them, both 16, recently took their "driver education" and got their licenses.
On Wednesday, I noticed that both came to our meeting in their motor vehicles. One was driving his dad's pickup truck; the other had his new "personal ride" - a somewhat decrepit old Datsun 2-door sedan, "with stick shift." (I, of course, was on my bike. One of these two youths has been a regular cyclist for years, and both successfully completed our 50-mile bike ride, a couple years back.)
Shiny new driver's license? It brings back fond memories.
I got my driver's license at 14. Frankly, it's a little scary that somebody with such poor judgment could legally drive! (Of course, I had been driving for some time before that, too... occasionally with, but often without my parents' permission.)
The first day I had a real-life driver's license - in August - I groveled and talked Mom into letting me borrow the car, to go to the State Fair. I loaded a couple buddies in. I ran a red light. Unintentionally... and fortunately with no ill-effects other than a friend of my dad's saw it and called and told him. That was also the last day, for a month, that I drove. We stayed long at the Fair, and it was after dark before I got home. (Even back then, 14-year-old punks couldn't legally drive after dark. I got "grounded.")
Mircaulously, I never killed or injured anybody while driving... and survived myself, albeit with some scars and bent-up cars in my checkered past.
What would I like to tell my young new-driver friends? (And every kid I see in a driver-training vehicle?)
Congratulations! You have a significant new privilege, which is also a huge ADULT responsibility. When you are driving, YOU and you alone are totally responsible for the safe operation of that vehicle. One bad decision, or one moment of inattention, and it can become a lethal weapon. You do not want to injure or kill another person with your vehicle!
One more thing.
CARS ARE FOR THE WEAK!
Just kidding! Sorta...
BUT... just because you can now drive, does NOT in any way mean that motor-vehicle must now be your exclusive mode of transportation.
Don't make the mistake that so many folks in our society do, and totally abandon alternatives that might be much more practical and efficient. Don't totally surrender to the fickle whims of Exxon-Mobil, and put yourself at their mercy. Don't lose sight of how expensive it is to drive one mile in a motor vehicle! (The IRS says it's 50 cents, but it's probably more than that.) A penny saved is a penny earned... and most young folks find those pennies to be quite scarce. Don't forget the cheap and enjoyable and good-for-you transportation that your bicycle has provided for many years.
Y'all drive careful now... y'hear?